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.
NEWARK — Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard had just beaten defending NCAA champion UConn Tuesday night and that’s not even what made him the happiest.
“We had Victor Cruz in the locker room,” Willard said after the Pirates snapped an 11-game losing streak against UConn by downing the No. 8 Huskies, 75-63, at The Prudential Center.
“Everybody says, ‘You gotta be happy about this one,’ I just met Victor Cruz. I’m more happy about that than anything. Got my Giants back in the playoffs, I’m all excited.”
Since helping the Giants win the NFC East title Sunday by making six catches for 178 yards in a 31-14 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Cruz has been making the rounds.
He received a standing ovation at Madison Square Garden Monday night during the Knicks’ loss to the Toronto Raptors.
And again wearing a Yankees cap, he was courtside Tuesday to root on a Seton Hall team that has two fellow Paterson Catholic alums in Jordan Theodore, who had 19 points and 11 assists, and Fuquan Edwin, who tallied 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Cruz played football and basketball at PC, which closed in June 2010 due to financial shortfalls, and he also played basketball for the Playaz Basketball Club.
“Coming into Paterson Catholic, I met Vic at an early age,” said Theodore, who was three years younger than Cruz at PC. “So I’ve known him forever.
“It was really cool. The guys had fun and took some pictures, but for me and Fu, we’ve known him forever.”
Even though PC has been closed for almost two years, its alums continue to represent.
Cruz is the most dynamic offensive weapon on the Giants.
Edwin and Theodore are leading a Seton Hall team that is now 13-2 and should be ranked in the Top 25 next week.
And Rutgers freshman point guard Myles Mack and St. Anthony senior point guard Kyle Anderson — two former PC standouts — are both excelling.
Mack helped Rutgers engineer an 85-83 double-overtime upset of No. 10 Floirda last week at the RAC.
The 6-foot-9, UCLA-bound Anderson is 40-0 in a St. Anthony uniform, having won a mythical national championship last season.
Prior to that, he and Mack went 28-1 during the 2009-10 season at PC.
“Everybody’s doing their job right now,” Edwin said of the PC guys. “Yeah, it’s crazy right now.”
Asked if his team was getting national attention with the upset of UConn, Willard cracked, “So yes, I think we are getting more national attention. We had Victor Cruz in the locker room.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.