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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 / December 9.
  • A year or two ago, not many people in the basketball world knew much about the CIA Bounce AAU program.

    On Monday, the program’s Nike-sponsored 16U team fought back from a 15-0 deficit to beat Garner Road Elite, 66-55, to win the Gold championship at the AAU Super Showcase in Kissimmee, Fla., in front of a Who’s Who of coaches, including Roy Williams, Tom Izzo and Jamie Dixon.

    They were led by 28 points and 13 rebounds from 6-foot-7 2014 small forward Andrew Wiggins, 16 points from 6-3 2014 shooting guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes and 15 from 6-2 2013 point guard Tyler Ennis. The victory capped a perfect 8-0 showing for CIA Bounce, which became the first Canadian team ever to win the prestigious event.

    “It means a lot because now everyone has to respect us,” said Ennis, a rising junior at St. Benedict’s Prep. “They know we can play now.”

    “It’s great for the kids and the program to win such a prestigious event and put our name in the conversation as one of the top programs in AAU basketball,” added Mike George, co-founder of CIA Bounce.

    Greg Taylor insists there was no master plan behind putting several African-born players together on the DC Assault White team at the Super 64 event in Las Vegas.

    “It just came out that way,” he said by phone from Vegas.

    So far, so good.

    Led by several Africans, DC Assault White — the third team in Curtis Malone’s program behind Gold and Blue — is undefeated and into the championship bracket after beating Derrick Rose’s Team Rose, 70-52, Sunday night.

    Dominic Artis, a 6-foot-1 point guard ranked No. 15 nationally by Rivals, has verbally committed to UCLA for 2012.

    “I’m really excited,” Artis, who picked UCLA over California, Florida State, Oregon, Georgia Tech, Baylor and Florida International, said according to the L.A. Times. “It could be a great class.”

    Artis, who will attend Findlay Prep next season, joins Jordan Adams, a small forward from Oak Hill Academy who pledged to the Bruins in June.

    UCLA head coach Ben Howland reportedly told Artis he and North Carolina transfer Larry Drew II could play in the backcourt together, but Artis said he wouldn’t mind sharing playing time.

    Jeff Hathaway’s days as athletic director at UConn appear to be numbered.

    And rightly or wrongly, his ouster could pave the way for an official announcement by men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun that he will return next season.

    UConn President Susan Herbst issued the following statement Sunday evening.

    “Athletics is a vital part of UConn and there are many ways to evaluate the success of a collegiate athletic department — academic performance of student-athletes, NCAA compliance, fundraising and overall athletic success,” Herbst said in the statement. “We will be excellent stewards of public and private funds in all areas of the University. As a result, I will be reviewing all divisions of the University over time, but with great urgency, to make sure that we are serving this state in the best possible way. Accountability and excellence are our themes, going forward.

    Chris McCullough is only a rising sophomore, but his stock is soaring.

    His Team Scan improved to 5-0 at the Fab 48 with its latest win Sunday night, and the 6-foot-9 face-up four-man is a big reason why

    “He’s been playing phenomenal,” his AAU coach, Terrance “Munch Williams, said by phone from Vegas, adding that McCullough is averaging about 18 points and 10 boards a game. “He’s playing both ends of the floor.”

    Jevon Thomas has decommitted from St. John’s.

    “I’m decommitting from St. John’s,” the 2012 floor general from Our Savior New American told Alex Kline of The Recruit Scoop Saturday afternoon. “I think I rushed into my decision way to early. I want to see more options and go from there.” Thomas will still consider the Johnnies.

    “I will explore other options,” he said. “At the same time, I have high interest in them and still have a great relationship with the staff.”