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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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Thursday / March 4.
  • As first reported here in December, the Big East/SEC Challenge will expand to 12 games this year.

    Four Big East teams were omitted this year: Marquette, South Florida, Notre Dame and Villanova.

    Here is the complete schedule:

    2011 BIG EAST/SEC CHALLENGE (times and networks are to be determined)

    Thursday, Dec. 1
    Georgetown at Alabama
    Providence at South Carolina
    St. John’s at Kentucky
    Ole Miss at DePaul

    NEW YORK — Jim Calhoun — or whoever the UConn coach is next season — will have a hard enough time replacing the loss of Kemba Walker.

    Imagine how difficult the coach’s job would be if Jeremy Lamb had departed for the NBA, too.

    The 6-foot-5 freshman considered testing the NBA waters before opting to remain in school for his sophomore season.

    “He would’ve gone in the first round this year, that much I can guarantee you,” Calhoun said of Lamb on Wednesday at the New York Athletic Club. “I got enough phone calls [from NBA executives]. They’re calling about Kemba and they’re calling about him.”

    Lamont “Momo” Jones and the person handling his recruitment have yet to hear from St. John’s about his future.

    “I can say he’s interested [in St. John’s] but he’s heard from a lot of schools,” said the person handling the recruitment, who requested anonymity until Jones returns to the New York area this weekend and they huddle up. “We have not heard from them [St. John’s].”

    The person added: “He definitely wants to be close [to home in the] East.”

    The New York Post reported Thursday that Jones “will transfer to St. John’s and could be eligible to play this upcoming season under NCAA hardship rules.”

    The DeAndre Daniels Saga will last at least another day.

    After it was expected that the 6-foot-8 forward out of Bradenton (IMG) Academies would announce Wednesday for either Texas or Kansas, IMG coach Andy Borman said it will now happen Thursday.

    “Going to announce tomorrow a.m.,” Borman said by text.

    Daniels, ranked the No. 3 small forward in the nation by Rivals.com, initially committed to Texas out of Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft High and sources indicate he is still leaning strongly that way.

    Jamari Traylor is headed to Kansas.

    Where his IMG Academies teammate DeAndre Daniels is going remains unclear for the moment.

    “It was a good fit for me,” the 6-foot-8, 215-pound power forward told SNY.tv by phone. “I really like Coach [Bill] Self and coach [Kurtis] Townsend. I really like the players. On my visit I saw the campus and everything I knew it would be a good place for me.”

    Traylor chose Kansas over Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Indiana.

    Daniels is mulling Kansas and Texas and will now announce Thursday morning.

    Trevor Lacey is staying home.

    The No. 6 shooting guard in the Class of 2011, Lacey chose Alabama Wednesday over Kentucky, Kansas, Auburn and UConn.

    “It was a very difficult decision because I had great choices,” the 6-foot-3 Lacey, out of Huntsville (Ala.) Butler, told ESPN.com. “My relationship and trust with [Alabama coach Anthony Grant] set the Crimson Tide apart. I also feel the university of Alabama will provide the best opportunity for me when basketball is over. I love the people in Alabama.”

    A two-time Mr. Basketball in Alabama, Lacey won three state titles at Huntsville.


    NEW YORK
    — Maybe ESPN should set up a director’s chair in Hilton Head for Jim Calhoun to announce “The Decision” during his summer vacation.

    The UConn coach said Wednesday he would likely decide whether or not to return next season while on vacation with his family there in June.

    “I think when I’m sitting there, maybe with my two sons or something and we just start talking about some things,” Calhoun said at the New York Athletic Club where he is receiving the Winged Foot Award, given each year to the coach of the national champion men’s and women’s basketball teams. “One of them (James) I know would like me to give it up. One of them (Jeff) would like me to stay.

    “An epiphany or an awakening or a realization of where I stand, something like that to some degree has to happen to me to make it clear.”