February 2011 | Page 11 of 19 | 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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Sunday / June 23.
  • NEW YORK — Kobe Bryant flashed a wry smile when asked whether another superstar could help the Knicks make a deep playoff run.

    “Is that your way to ask me about the ‘Melo stuff?” Bryant said after scoring 33 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the Lakers’ 113-96 win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

    “They have some really good pieces here and I think the future is bright for them. But who are we kidding? We’re talking about Carmelo Anthony.  Let’s not go crazy. Carmelo Anthony is a bad boy, so you figure it out.”

    NEW YORK — Ron Artest is rooting for a resurgence of New York City hoops.

    Specifically, the Queens native said he hopes the Knicks do land Carmelo Anthony and guaranteed St. John’s would make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002.

    “I hope they get him,” Artest said, referring to the Knicks and Anthony.

    NEW YORK — Donnie Walsh isn’t ready to pull a Prokhorov and pull out of the Carmelo Anthony Sweepstakes, but he admits concern about the distractions swirling around his players.

    “I’m not talking about the [‘We Want Melo’] chants, I’m talking about reading your name in the paper every day or every other day,” the Knicks president said Friday before the Knicks hosted Kobe Bryant and the Lakers at MSG.

    Pittsburgh junior guard Ashton Gibbs says he’s “questionable” for Saturday’s game at No. 9 Villanova (9 p.m., ESPN).

    A team spokesman listed Gibbs as “doubtful.”

    The New Jersey native injured his left MCL during a rebound in a Feb. 5 win over Cincinnati.

    Without their leading scorer, No. 4 Pitt downed No. 25 West Virginia, 71-66, Monday in Morgantown, W.V.

    NEW YORK — Jerry Palm is in his 18th year tracking the NCAA tournament.

    And during that time he says only one team has made the Big Dance without finishing at least four games over .500.

    That was the 2001 Georgia Bulldogs.

    That club made the tournament despite finishing the regular season at 16-14 because they were rated No. 1 nationally in both RPI and Sagarin ratings.

    “Everybody else was at least four games over,” Palm, who owns and operates CollegeRPI.com, said Thursday night by phone.

    This has been quite a week for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and his program.

    Just three days after landing 6-foot-8 small forward Alex Murphy from the Class of 2012, the Blue Devils secured a verbal pledge from 6-4 shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon of Houston Strake Jesuit, the No. 4 shooting guard in the class.

    The duo should give Duke a head start on the No. 1 overall recruiting class for 2012.

    “I just thought Duke was a great overall fit for me to become the most successful both on and off the court,” Sulaimon said Friday by text.

    The McDonald’s All-American team was named Thursday for the March 30 game at the United Center in Chicago (10 p.m., ESPNU).

    Gene Pingatore of St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Ill. will lead the West team and Bob Cimmino of Mount Vernon (N.Y.) will serve as head coach of the East team.

    WEST

    Wayne Blackshear (Louisville)

    Branden Dawson (Michigan State)

    Myck Kabongo (Texas)

    Austin Rivers (Duke)

    Marquis Teague (Kentucky)

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