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.
In his effort to rebuild the program at St. Benedict’s Prep, new coach Mark Taylor is reaching into New York City.
Kevin Mickle, a 6-foot-7, 191-pound sophomore wing from Adelphi Academy, will attend the Newark school next season, and Melvin Johnson, a 6-3, 185-pound two guard out of Rice High is considering attending.
“I think it’s a great coaching staff over there that can help me get to a certain point that I want to play,” Mickle said by phone.
St. Ben’s is a prep school and Mickle said he planned to live in the dorms.
Johnson (pictured), Mickle’s teammates on the New York Gauchos, has yet to decide where he will attend in the wake of Rice High closing, but said he’s considering St. Benedict’s, St. Anthony, Lincoln and Brewster (N.H.) Academy.
“I’m going to check it out,” Johnson said of St. Ben’s.
Taylor took over in April and is attempting to rebuild St. Ben’s around rising junior point guard Tyler Ennis, who holds offers from West Virginia, Seton Hall and Rutgers and has interest from Kentucky, Georgetown, Providence, Florida, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Temple.
Taylor is working on bringing in several other players as well, including freshman guard Wa’Mere Murphy of Delaware, as well as several Canadian and African players.
Johnson said he hopes to decide by the end of next month on his future destination.
“It’s not as easy as people think,” Johnson said. “They say if the school closes, you can go here. You gotta worry about playing time. It’s not as easy as it seems.”
When Paterson (N.J.) Catholic shuttered its doors last June, there was a feeding frenzy over its talented players. The program’s top two players, guards Kyle Anderson and Myles Mack, landed at St. Anthony and helped the team win the mythical national championship and go undefeated under Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley.
Rice does not feature as much talent as PC, with Johnson the school’s top player.
He said he holds offers from Xavier, George Mason, Temple, Siena, Hofstra and Iona, with interest from VCU, Temple, Miami and Rutgers.
**New era dawning at St. Benedict’s Prep
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.