January 2012 | Page 19 of 28 | 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 / April 21.
  • During the early part of this college basketball season, whenever we heard or read about Syracuse on “SportsCenter” and in the newspapers, it was for all the wrong reasons.

    “We’re just taking it as disrespecting [us] that we’ve been a Top 5 team and every time you hear ‘Syracuse’ it’s about the [Bernie Fine] scandal,” Orange point guard Scoop Jardine told SNY.tv last month. “No disrespect to what’s going on because it’s serious.”

    Now, when the No. 1 Orange make headlines it’s for all the right reasons.

    After Wednesday’s win over Villanova, Syracuse is 18-0 for the second straight season and there’s no telling how far this team can go.

    Junior college point guard Chris Jones of Northwest Florida State College is drawing interest from a number of Big East programs.

    “It’s early,” head coach Steve Forbes told SNY.tv. “UConn has made some inroads there.

    “He’s heard from Louisville, West Virginia, [Seton Hall associate head coach] Shaheen [Holloway] called me.

    “He’s the type of player that will be able to go wherever he wants.”


    NEW YORK
    — If the Mike D’Antoni defense of the past few years had been in charge of protecting the United States, we all could’ve been speaking Arabic, Russian or Chinese by this point.

    A year ago, the Knicks were tied for 27th in the 30-team NBA after allowing a porous 105.7 points per game. Only Phoenix and Minnesota were worse.

    Yet Carmelo Anthony says he and his teammates got tired of hearing about their horrible defense, and Anthony claims he’s on a mission to change the culture.

    “I was on a personal vendetta,” he said late Wednesday in the corner of the Knicks locker room after his team won their fourth straight, 85-79, over the Philadelphia 76ers.

    NEW YORK — The Knicks are now 3-0 when Josh “Big Jorts” Harrellson scores in double-figures.

    The rookie out of Kentucky scored seven of his 13 points in the first period, when the Knicks outscored the Philadelphia 76ers, 28-15, en route to an 85-79 victory at Madison Square Garden.

    New York’s fourth straight win snapped Philly’s six-game winning streak and the 6-foot-10 Harrellson was a key contributor.

    “Josh was a big key tonight,” said Carmelo Anthony, who scored a game-high 27 points, including two clutch foul shots with 16.1 seconds left.

    NEW YORK –– When he was coaching the Washington Wizards in 2001, Doug Collins worked Tyson Chandler out three times because he was so enamored with the 7-footer from Dominguez (CA) High.

    “We almost drafted him,” Collins said Wednesday before his Philadelphia 76ers (7-2) took on the Knicks (5-4) at MSG.

    “I’ve always been a huge fan of Tyson Chandler’s.”

    And when Chandler came to the Knicks last month in a trade, Collins wasn’t pleased because he knew he would add a defensive presence to the Sixers’ Atlantic Division rival.

    The Amile Jefferson recruitment just got a little more complicated.

    Alex Schwartz of NBE reports that Duke is now going after the 6-foot-7 Philly Friends Central forward who plans to sign in the spring.

    Duke head man Mike Krzyzewski and assistant Chris Collins watched Jefferson play Tuesday, as did Villanova head coach Jay Wright and assistant Billy Lange.

    “They got in touch with me and my father,” Jefferson told NBE of Duke. “They had been looking [at me during my] . . . sophomore year . . . The school speaks for itself.”

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