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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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Saturday / December 4.
  • By JOSH NEWMAN 

    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Hilton Armstrong may have 277 NBA games under his belt, but none have come recently.

    Once thought to be capable of contributing to an NBA roster as an athletic shot-blocking specialist, the former lottery pick (12th overall, 2006) spent 2011-12 with ASVEL Basket of France’s Pro A division, the country’s top classification. He was solid overseas, averaging 11.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in 29 Pro A games for an ASVEL squad that finished in the bottom half of the league standings.

    With a renewed confidence after a strong showing in France, the Peekskill, N.Y. native and 2006 Big East Defensive Player of the Year was at the Nets free agent mini-camp this week, looking to get back to the highest level of basketball the world has to offer.

    One of the hottest names still on the board in the 2012 Class is Jordan Dickerson, a 7-foot center from Alexandria, Va., who is now fully qualified after doing a postgraduate year at IMG Academies.

    Darrell Crawford, Dickerson’s uncle, told SNY.tv Wednesday that his nephew is planning visits to Providence, South Carolina, Auburn and possibly St. John’s.

    Florida State and South Florida are among the schools also in the mix.

    “We’re going to do Providence first Monday,” Crawford said. “And then we’re going to set something up for South Carolina probably that Sunday [June 3]. I need to call [South Carolina coach] Frank [Martin] back.”

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — While his older brother is in pursuit of an NBA championship with the Indiana Pacers, Ben Hansbrough is just hoping to land on somebody’s roster.

    The younger Hansbrough is one of 21 free agents working out this week for the Nets, but he is the only former Big East Player of the Year in the group.

    “It’s almost like my second go-round so I’m actually healthy,” the 6-foot-3 shooting guard told SNY.tv Tuesday, hours before his older brother, Tyler, and the Pacers lost to the Miami Heat in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal.

    UPDATED 7:06 p.m.:

    Miami Heat center Dexter Pittman has been suspended three games without pay for striking the neck and shoulders of Indiana guard Lance Stephenson, and Miami forward Udonis Haslem has been suspended one game without pay for striking the head and shoulders of Indiana’s Tyler Hansbrough, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

    Both Pittman and Haslem had their Flagrant Foul Ones upgraded to Flagrant Foul Twos, as did Indiana’s Hansbrough, who struck the head of Miami’s Dwyane Wade on a foul that occurred shortly before Haslem’s foul. 

    The incidents occurred during the Heat’s 115-83 victory over the Pacers on May 22 at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.  

    Haslem will serve his suspension on Thursday when the Pacers host the Heat in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series. Pittman will begin serving his suspension in Game 6.

    ***

    ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler says Dexter Pittman should be suspended “four to five games” for his forearm shiver hit on Lance Stephenson Tuesday night.

    With the Miami Heat blowing out the Indiana Pacers, 115-80, in the fourth quarter of Game 5 Tuesday in Miami, Pittman delivered a blatantly hard shot to Stephenson’s neck area as the Brooklyn native cut into the lane. The hit garnered one of three flagrant fouls in the game.

    Speaking on the “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show Wednesday, Legler said Pittman should get “four to five games” and that he could have done severe damage had the hit clocked Stephenson in the “windpipe.”

    “Pittman’s action was outrageous and his intentions, however, were even worse,” Alberto Ebanks, Stephenson’s agent, told SNY.tv. Wednesday. “I’m sure the league will impose an appropriate penalty.”

    The NBA has invited 60 players to the 2012 NBA Draft combine June 7-8 in Chicago.

    All six Kentucky players who entered the draft were invited, including presumptive No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis.

    Notable players not on the invite list include Wisconsin All-American point guard Jordan Taylor, Gonzaga’s Robert Sacre and Villanova’s Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek.

    The Draft lottery is slated for May 30 and the NBA Draft is June 28 in Newark.

    Here’s the list: