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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Ohio State is the only team in this Final Four without a player from New Jersey’s powerhouse St. Basketball trio of St. Anthony, St. Patrick and St. Benedict’s.
But that’s apparently not for lack of trying.
“Well, we have recruited that area and you can see our success rate since we’re the only one that doesn’t have one,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said Monday on a conference call.
St. Anthony product Tyshawn Taylor runs the point for Kansas, St. Patrick alum Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a major contributor at Kentucky and St. Benedict’s grad Chris Smith is the shooting guard at Louisville.
Kentucky also features New York City guard Doron Lamb and Louisville features New York point guard Russ Smith.
Ohio State does have Mississippi native LaQuinton Ross, who played two years of high school ball at Burlington (N.J.) Life Center, but he’s not a big factor for the Buckeyes.
“You look at New Jersey, New York and you’ve got some of the greatest high school programs in the country in a 30-mile radius and I think it speaks volumes about the coaches and just the product of player that comes out of there,” Matta said.
Kansas coach Bill Self knows that recruiting the North Jersey area can yield players who come from winning backgrounds and have played for some of the best high school programs in the nation.
“You got a Hall of Fame coach there at St. Anthony’s [Bob Hurley],” Self said. “And then not a good coach, as good a coach as there is, period, any level. And then you’ve got the guy at St. Pat’s, Kevin Boyle, who’s won almost as much as a Hall of Fame coach in the time he’s been there. Just unbelievable players and success.
“And then you’ve got Hurley, Danny, at St. Benedict’s at the time. And he’s gone on and now he’s the head coach at Rhode Island so it is a pretty cool triangle.
“Tobacco Road I guess is the the triangle, but from high school basketball I guess this would be considered the triangle.”
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.