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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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Wednesday / August 17.
  • NEW YORK — The Arizona men’s basketball season doesn’t start until the fall, but Nick and Sidiki Johnson are getting an early jump.

    Sidiki called Nick, who is not related but is a fellow Arizona commit, and asked if he would like to join him on the New Heights AAU team that is competing in the iS8/Nike Spring Classic.

    “I called Nick and I was like, ‘Let’s start our college season now. Start it now in May,'” the 6-foot-9, 225-pound Sidiki said Sunday. “He flew out [from Findlay Prep in Las Vegas] on Friday. He got here Friday morning.”

    Together, the duo caused some serious damage.

    NEW YORK — Kyle Anderson is moving slowly but surely toward a college decision, possibly at the beginning of the next school year in the fall.

    At this point, the 6-foot-8 Anderson says both Seton Hall and St. John’s are in good shape for his services.

    As for Seton Hall, he said, “They just keep the phone calls short. They come to see me whenever they can. They just do a good job of it.”

    By ALEX KLINE

    On Sunday night, two very different — but talented – players made their college decisions.

    Erik Copes, a a 6-foot-8 2011 center out of Imhotep Charter in Pennsylvania, is headed to Geroge Mason.

    And Georges Niang (pictured), a 6-7 2012 forward out of the Tilton School in New Hampshire, has pledged to Iowa State.

    Copes, who was released from his letter of intent with George Washington on Tuesday, decided it was best to move on. The program fired head coach Karl Hobbs, who along with Copes’ uncle, Roland Houston, recruited the star senior to George Washington. Houston was recently hired by new George Mason head coach Paul Hewitt as an assistant. This led to Copes taking an official visit this weekend and his ultimate decision.

    NEW YORK — Maurice Harkless watched from the bench Sunday as his Real Scout AAU team demolished NIA Prep, 74-48, in the iS8/Nike Spring Classic quarterfinals.

    With Harkless on the bench with a bruised ankle, his future St. John’s teammate, forward JaKarr Sampson (pictured at left), dominated with 18 points on 6 of 10 shooting, 7 rebounds and 1 block.

    Harkless hopes to be back for Saturday’s semifinals against the Playaz, who escaped with a 75-73 victory over the New York Panthers courtesy of a game-high 26 points from Rutgers-bound point guard Myles Mack and 25 from Georgetown signee Jabril Trawick.

    NEW YORK — The Sterling Gibbs Sweepstakes is getting interesting.

    During the same weekend that the 6-foot-1 Gibbs visited Texas with his family, UConn assistant Kevin Ollie reached out to the Gibbs family.

    “UConn called me last night for Sterling Gibbs,” New York Panthers coach Gary Charles said  Sunday at the iS8/Nike Spring playoffs. “And obviously with Sterling being at Texas, it’s kind of hard for them to talk to him right now. The family said to me, ‘We have an interest.’

    “But they can’t concentrate on that right now. When they come back we’re going to talk some more about it. And I plan to talk to Coach [Jim] Calhoun tonight [Sunday] to get more information.”

    Jeff Van Gundy confirmed that Texas A&M reached out to him about their coaching vacancy.

    “[Texas A&M] Bill Byrne did approach me,” Van Gundy, a Houston native, told 1050TheGame in Houston. “I wouldn’t really comment on his interest. He hasn’t made an offer or anything like that. It was just a get to know conversation, see if you’re interested.

    “I really don’t know where I stand.”

    Van Gundy, who now works as an NBA ESPN analyst, is a former Providence and Rutgers assistant. He also coached the Knicks and Rockets.

    By ALEX KLINE & ADAM ZAGORIA

    In its search to replace NBA-bound point guard Cory Joseph, Texas will host two former ACC guards this weekend.

    After obtaining his release from Maryland, Seton Hall Prep point guard Sterling Gibbs will visit Texas beginning Saturday with his parents.

    “I really like Texas and their style of play,” Gibbs said. “Coach [Rick] Barnes does a great job of letting his guards run the offense.”

    “I plan to visit there and see what they have to offer. I will tour the campus and also talk to the coaches.”

    Added Gary Charles of the New York Panthers AAU program: “Rob Lanier recruited him when Rob was at Florida so he has a relationship with Rob Lanier already.