October 2011 | Page 8 of 21 | Zagsblog
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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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Sunday / May 31.
  • NEW YORK — Perhaps more than anyone else on the St. John’s staff, Rico Hines feels a special bond with head coach Steve Lavin.

    Lavin recruited Hines to UCLA, coached him to four Sweet 16s and later hired him as a player development coach when Lavin took over the St. John’s program in 2010.

    “More than basketball, more than anything else I care about him as a person because he took a chance on me when I was 17 years old from North Carolina by way of Maryland and helped me come to UCLA and look at me now,” Hines said Oct. 14 during St. John’s Midnight Madness.

    Big East officials are “not considering” joining a super-conference that would stretch from coast to coast and incorporate as many as 28 or 32 schools, a highly placed league source told SNY.tv.

    The Big East has targeted Navy, Air Force and Boise State for football-only, and Houston, SMU and Central Florida for all sports.

    The source said there is “no timetable” on when the new programs might join. When the first one does, the league’s new $10 million exit fee will kick in, meaning if a West Virginia or Louisville were to leave for the Big 12, they would have to pay that amount.

    The Boston Globe reported that the Big East was considering joining with the new Mountain West/Conference USA conglomerate to form a four-division football league aimed at keeping the Big East’s automatic BCS bid and giving the new league such a bid.

    BROOKLYN — Brian Bernardi lives on Staten Island and originally committed to a Conference USA school in Dallas.

    But two months after pledging to SMU, Bernardi is hoping he ends up playing in the new Big East.

    “I was actually on my official visit when I found out [the Big East was interested in adding SMU],” the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Bernardi said Saturday night after scoring 17 points to help New York crush New Jersey, 133-101, in the Sharette Dixon Classic at Bishop Loughlin. “All the players are excited. I’m definitely excited, too, about it.”

    The dynamic duo of Kyle Anderson and Tony Parker came up big for the Playaz.

    The 6-foot-8 UCLA-bound Anderson was named MVP of the IS8 final after putting up 22 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists to lead the Playaz to an 81-75 victory over the Panthers on Sunday.

    Anderson was also named MVP of the league for the second time overall, joining Ron Artest as the only two-time winners.

    BROOKLYNDaniel Dingle came up on the losing end in the Sharette Dixon Classic one year ago, when his New York team fell to New Jersey.

    But a year later, the Big Apple guys put a 133-101 beatdown on their visitors from the Garden State in the third annual game held in Dixon’s honor at Bishop Loughlin High School.

    “Right now, yeah this is the game that proves it [that New York is better than New Jersey],” Dingle said after the game. “We’re always talking. I’d rather show than talk. I can show them more than I can tell them.”

    BROOKLYN — Chris Obekpa, one of the most sought after big men in the Class of 2012, will wait until the spring signing period in April.

    “Yes, Chris is going to sign in the spring,” Our Savior New American assistant Eric Jaklitsch told SNY.tv after Obekpa helped New York crush New Jersey, 133-101, in the Sharette Dixon Classic at Bishop Loughlin High School.

    Earlier in the day, the 6-foot-9 Obekpa had eight points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks as Our Savior lost a heartbreaker to the New York Panthers, 77-76, in the IS8 semifinals in Queens.