January 2011 | Page 16 of 18 | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / January 20.
  • Five Big East players — Marshon Brooks, Austin Freeman, Rick Jackson, Kemba Walker and Brad Wanamaker — were named Thursday to the Wooden Midseason Top 30 list.

    The Big 12 and Big Ten each placed six players on the list, while the ACC also had five.

    Duke (Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith) and Purdue (JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore) each put two players on the list.

    Here’s the complete list:

    While this was supposed to be a “down year” for the Big East, one look at the first edition of the 2011 RPI rankings shows otherwise.

    This week’s ranking lists eight Big East teams among the top 18, with Georgetown at No. 1, Syracuse at No. 3, UConn at No. 5, St. John’s at No. 7, Pittsburgh at No. 10, West Virginia at No. 12, Notre Dame at No. 14 and Villanova at No. 18.

    No other league has as many as three teams in the top 20.

    Former Rutgers star Hamady N’Diaye is the latest NBA player sent to the NBA D-League.

    “I feel great about it,” N’Diaye’s agent, Keith Glass, said by text. “It will give him a chance to play. It’s a great opportunity while still being the property of Washington. The best of both worlds.”

    The 7-foot, 235-pound N’Diaye has appeared in four games this season with the Washington Wizards. He was selected in the second round (56th overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, and was acquired by Washington in a draft-night swap.

    Memphis native Ferrakohn Hall is returning home.

    The former Seton Hall forward has decided to transfer to his hometown Memphis Tigers. He was eligible to practice Thursday, but can’t play until Dec. 15, 2011.

    “I’m a Memphis Tiger,” he said by text.

    The 6-foot-7 Hall considered visiting Auburn and Alabama but ultimately decided that wasn’t necessary.

    “We are welcoming home one of the city’s products in Ferrakohn to the Tigers program,” head coach Josh Pastner said. “Although he can’t suit up for a game until the end of the 2011 fall semester, I expect the addition of Ferrakohn to the squad to provide an impact for our team at every practice, starting Thursday and moving forward.”

    There will be a new Slam Dunk champion
    crowned on Feb. 19, at Staples Center when
    four first-time contestants vie for the title: Blake Griffin, Brandon Jennings, Serge Ibaka and JaVale McGee.

    Each of the four participants will work with a former player to create and practice dunks.

    Griffin will match up with TNT analyst and two-time Slam Dunk participant (1990, 1991) Kenny Smith; Jennings will practice with NBA Legend Darryl Dawkins; McGee will work with NBA TV/TNT analyst and five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber; and Ibaka will prepare with Thunder teammate and 2009-10 NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant.