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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.
  • Josh Harrellson probably won’t be a difference-maker for the Knicks.

    But the former Kentucky standout says he’s ready to do whatever dirty work is needed to help Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire win games.

    “I’m going to protect my stars,” Harrellson told the New York Post Sunday at the Liberty game at the Prudential Center. “Amar’e, Carmelo, if someone’s getting rough with them, I’m going to protect them. I’m going to make my presence felt. They’ll know I’m there.”

    Kentucky coach John Calipari who led the Wildcats to the school’s 14th NCAA Final Four appearance last season, has been given an eight-year contract worth a total of $36.5 million plus the opportunity for performance-based incentives, the school announced Monday.

    Calipari had been linked to the Knicks as a potential successor to Mike D’Antoni, who has one year remaining on his contract.

    “What John Calipari has done on and off the court in the past two years to reunite and rejuvenate this fan base has been magical,” AD Mitch Barnhart said. “He understands the responsibility that goes along with this position and there is no other coach out there that is a better fit for the best basketball program in the country.”

    Rutgers rising sophomore forward Gilvydas Biruta scored 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting and had six rebounds in 14 minutes to help the Lithuania U20 National Team to a 101-72 victory over the United States U19 National Team in an exhibition game Sunday evening.

    Lithuania jumped out to a 32-8 lead to conclude the opening quarter and never looked back. Lithuania made 49.3 percent (33-67) of its field goals attempts for the game, while limiting the United States to 35.5 percent (27-76) shooting. The hosts also established a 53-42 advantage in rebounds to ensure the victory.

    Biruta was one of six players to post double figure scoring totals for Lithuania. Darius Tarvydas shot 7-of-11, including 4-of-7 from behind the arc, to score a game-high 21 points.

    Tim Hardaway, Jr. paced the USA offense with 18 points, 16 coming in the second half. In addition to Hardaway’s scoring, the USA saw Joe Jackson record 13 points, a USA high eight rebounds, five assists and four steals, while Doug McDermott finished with 12 points and four rebounds.

    While his NBA counterparts are dealing with the looming lockout in New York City, Amar’e Stoudemire is in Chicago at his annual Nike Skills Academy.

    Stoudemire is tutoring some of the top big men in the nation, including Brandon Ashley, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward who will attend Findlay (Nev.) Prep next season.

    “We’re doing a lot of cool stuff,” Ashley, the No. 5 power forward in the Class of 2012 per Rivals, said Saturday by phone. “A lot of stuff on post moves and everything. He’s teaching us how to get through the pick-and-roll and how to defend it. A lot of simple stuff that’s going to take us a long way.”

    Jeremy Lamb of UConn and James Bell of Villanova were named to the 12-man roster for the USA U19 World Championship Team.

    The USA squad, featuring five players with prior USA Basketball experience, will look to defend the gold medal won by the U.S. in 2009 at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship.

    Also named to the 2011 USA U19 World Championship Team were: Keith Appling (Michigan State/Detroit, Mich.); Anthony Brown (Stanford/Huntington Beach, Calif.); Jahii Carson (Mesa High School/*Arizona State/Phoenix, Ariz.); Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Michigan/Miami, Fla.); Joe Jackson (Memphis/Memphis, Tenn.); Meyers Leonard (Illinois/Robinson, Ill.); Khyle Marshall (Butler/Davie, Fla.); Doug McDermott (Creighton/Ames, Iowa); Tony Mitchell (North Texas/Dallas, Texas); and Patric Young (Florida/Jacksonville, Fla.).