February 2013 | Page 16 of 21 | 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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Monday / July 22.
  • Bill Walton is not a Ben Howland fan.

    The UCLA legend said as much Thursday during ESPN’s telecast of UCLA’s dramatic 59-57 win over Washington on Larry Drew II’s fallaway jumper at the buzzer.

    Prior to Drew’s theatrical game-winner that improved Howland and UCLA to 17-6, 7-3 in the Pac-12, Walton effectively called for the coach’s tenure to come to an end.

    “I’m not in charge,” Walton said when asked if Howland’s time had run out in Westwood. “If I were, things would be different.”

    Asked directly by ESPN play-by-play announcer Dave Pasch if he was a Howland fan, Walton said, “No.”

    The conversation began with Walton saying UCLA had “the smallest footprint of any of the UC campuses” and then repeatedly making fun of the crowd size at  Pauley Pavilion .

    And then there were four.

    Four Knicks are in the All-Star festivities in Houston now that James White has been added to the Slam Dunk contest and Steve Novak will fire away in the 3-Point Contest.

    “A lot of people haven’t seen James,” Carmelo Anthony, who will play for the East in the Feb. 17 All-Star Game with teammate Tyson Chandler, told ESPN.com. “He’s the best-kept secret.”

    The 6-foot-7 White will compete in the Dunk Contest against Jeremy Evans of Utah, Eric Bledsoe of the Clippers, Kenneth Faried of Denver, Gerald Green of Indiana and Terrence Ross of Toronto.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the weather, Huntington Prep will not be playing in this weekend’s PrimeTime Shootout at Roselle (N.J.) Catholic.

    Much of the talk in New Jersey high school basketball circles in recent weeks has centered around traditional powers St. Anthony and St. Benedict’s Prep.

    Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley and St. Anthony won 83 games in a row before coach Mark Taylor and St. Benedict’s ended that streak last Friday at the Prudential Center.

    But on Saturday night at Roselle (N.J.) Catholic High school — weather permitting — it won’t be St. Anthony, ranked No. 11 nationally by ESPN, or No. 5 St. Benedict’s playing in the highest-profile game of the night.

    Instead, it will be The Patrick School — formerly known as St. Patrick — that takes on Andrew Wiggins and No. 6 Huntington (W.V.) Prep in the nightcap of the PrimeTime Shootout.

    If the game is not snowed out, Wiggins will be coming off a performance Thursday in which he exploded for 57 points, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 steals in a 111-59 win over Marietta JV.

    He did it on the same day a controversial article about him appeared on SI.com and the same day he was named one of three finalists for the Naismith Boy’s High School Player of the Year. He is considering Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina and will sign in the spring.

    The way DeAndre Bembry sees it, all of that gives St. Pat’s a chance to get some much-needed respect.

    The Catholic 7 could be out of the Big East by 2014 and the way Rick Pitino sees it, that will be good news for that group of schools.

    “It’s very difficult for the teams to catch up in the Big East when everybody has such an advantage in terms of talent,” said Pitino, the current Louisville coach who once led Providence to a Final Four.

    “That being said, I think when the Catholic schools break off, I think you’ll see a rise in Seton Hall. I think Providence, Seton Hall, you’re going to see a major rise in those two programs when there’s a little bit more league continuity for them.”

    The injuries just keep piling up for Seton Hall.

    The Pirates could be without leading scorer Fuquan Edwin for Sunday’s tilt with UConn. Edwin scored 23 of Seton Hall’s 46 points in Monday’s loss at Pitt, but suffered a right ankle injury with 7:38 remaining.

    “Fuquan is out right now,” Pirates coach Kevin Willard, whose team is 13-10, 2-8 in the Big East and has dropped four straight, said on Thursday’s Big East conference call.

    “As of right now, depending on how he reacts to treatment today, we’ll see how he goes [Friday]. If he can go [Friday] and then we’ll judge it by Saturday. But right now, it doesn’t look good. I don’t really know for sure because he’s had some injuries so far this year that he’s bounced back. But we just gotta see how well he heals.”

    By JOSH NEWMAN
    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    JaKarr SampsonNEW YORK – It hasn’t taken long for JaKarr Sampson to get acclimated to college basketball or life in the always-rugged Big East. If his strong play continues, the St. John’s freshman could even be thinking about the NBA Draft in a few months.

    “In my opinion, he’s a first-round pick, he would be in the middle of the first round,” one veteran NBA scout told SNY.tv Wednesday evening after Sampson scored 18 points and hauled in six rebounds as St. John’s beat UConn, 71-65. “If he continues to play well, maybe even higher. Long arms, quick feet, jumps out of the gym, an improving skill-set. He’s a player. A guy like Sampson, he has great upside.”

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