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.
Former St. John’s commit Darrick Wood and former Hofstra commit Malik Nichols are both headed to junior college.
Wood, a 6-foot-4 combo guard, signed with Palm Beach (Fla.) College, while Nichols, a 6-7 wing from Queens, is headed to South Plains (Texas) College. Both Wood and Nichols spent last season playing for coach Whit Lesure at Bridgton (Maine) Academy.
“[Wood] did [sign with Palm Beach], we’re very happy to have him,” Palm Beach coach Butch Estes told SNY.tv Monday.
Wood is not qualified despite spending a postgraduate year at Bridgton in lieu of attending Newark NIA Prep.
“He didn’t qualify,” Estes said. “He’ll have to do two years here and graduate.”
Estes said Wood maintains a strong relationship with St. John’s and both sides would reevaluate the relationship a year from now.
“I think he has a very strong relationship with them,” Estes said. “Generally speaking, we have an agreement with St. John’s. At this time next fall we’ll re-visit where they are and where Darrick is. With that said, I would say to you that Darrick does have a special place for St. John’s.
“If they would like to have him, they’ll certainly have a leg up on everyone else.”
Wood is interested in making the transition to point guard from shooting guard, and while some junior colleges weren’t interested in letting him go that route, Estes is excited for it.
“He’s obviously very athletic,” Estes said. “We’re going to incorporate him more at the lead guard and give him some more experience there. I think we both agreed on it.
“Every time a kid can move down a position, it elevates them potentially to a potential pro career. At 6-4, he’s more valuable as a point guard than as a two guard. We’re going to work on his perimeter skills and whatever other areas he neeeds to work on.”
Palm Beach also features 6-7 sophomore wing Kevin Thomas, a Texas commit who failed to qualify a year ago.
Estes said Thomas holds offers from Washington State, Minnesota and Oregon.
“He’s going to be highly recruited,” Estes said.
Palm Beach also has 6-9 forward Jonathan Holton, who left Rhode Island after posting sex videos to Facebook and being charged by URI police with video voyeurism.
“He’s a freshman, he’s very talented,” Estes said.
As for Nichols, he and former NIA Prep and Robeson guard Darrel Lucky will both head to South Plains in Texas, which went 36-0 last year and won their second NJCAA Championship in five seasons.
That team sent seven players to Division 1 basketball, head coach Steve Green told SNY.tv.
“We know both of them have very, very good reputations for being very good players who played in a competitive league throughout the summer,” Green said.
“You’ve got to be a good player to have success in our league. We think those two guys will step right just like the guys that have left.”
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.