February 2013 | Page 17 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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Thursday / November 30.
  • Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel is now the clear choice to be the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, two veteran NBA scouts told SNY.tv.

    Earlier this year, scouts had said Noel was part of a group of players who could possibly become No. 1 — along with Indiana’s Cody Zeller, UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad and others.

    “Nerlens has been separating himself from the pack,” one scout said. “He has taken his shot-blocking to another level. He’s the best interior defender in the game.”

    The 6-foot-10 Noel went for 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in Tuesday’s win over South Carolina in Lexington, Ky.

    That was after he posted a season-high 19 points to go with 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in a Feb. 2 win at Texas A&M. Before that, Noel had 12 blocks, seven rebounds and two assists — while managing just two points from the foul line — as Kentucky beat Ole Miss Jan. 29.

    Kansas coach Bill Self ripped his No. 5-ranked team after its 62-55 loss to TCU Wednesday night.

    The Jayhawks managed just 13 points in the first half, their lowest first half in scoring since 1988-89.

    “It was the worst team that Kansas has ever put on the floor since Dr. [James] Naismith was there,” Self said in this video clip. “I think he had some bad teams when he lost to Topeka YMCA in the first couple years. But for the first half, there hasn’t been a team play worse than that offensively. That hasn’t happened, anywhere.”



    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    – Can St. John’s, with losses to Murray State, San Francisco and UNC-Asheville on the resume, make a run and sneak into the NCAA Tournament?

    It would seem a little unlikely right now given those poor early losses, but we’re about to find out for better or worse over the last month of the regular season whether or not those bad early losses are going to matter.

    Behind a team-high 18 points and six rebounds from freshman forward JaKarr Sampson and a late surge from sophomore point guard D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s held off the UConn, 71-65, at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night for their sixth win in seven games. The victory — achieved without injured sophomore point guard Jamal Branch — moves St. John’s to 15-8 overall and 7-4 in the Big East, while continuing a stretch of games to close the season that will test its mettle.

    SK daughterNEWARK — For Sean Kilpatrick, the best thing about coming home this past weekend was not scoring 21 points in Cincinnati’s Big East win at Seton Hall.

    No, the best moment may have happened before the game even started.

    That’s when the junior from Yonkers, N.Y. ran out onto the Prudential Center floor and saw his 2-year-old daughter, Bailey, waiting in the crowd to see him play.

    “Coming out of the tunnel being able to see her was just amazing,” the man they call “SK” told SNY.tv exclusively following Cincinnati’s 66-59 victory in which he went 5-of-15 from beyond the arc.

    NEWARK — Former Seton Hall forward Herb Pope still harbors dreams of making it to the NBA.

    “To be honest, I’m trying to get in a summer league really, try to get there and chase my dreams,” the 6-foot-8 Pope told SNY.tv  Saturday when he watched his alma mater lose to Cincinnati, 65-59. “So that’s the route that I want to go.”

    The father of a 5-year-old daughter named Hamari, Pope has had one of the most dramatic lives of any college player in recent memory.

    He was shot four times in his hometown of Aliquippa, Pa., in 2007 while trying to leave a party — and was lucky to survive.

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    UConn sophomore guard Ryan Boatright can’t stand watching ESPN nowadays.

    The Huskies are banned from postseason play and so Boatright gets annoyed every time he sees an NCAA Tournament commercial on the Worldwide Leader.

    “I see the daggun’ ‘Journey to the Tourney commercial every other commercial,” Boatright told UConn reporters, as quoted by the New Haven Register from the above video. “I get irritated, so I turn the TV off.”

    There will be no NCAA Tournament, no NIT Tournament and no Big East Tournament for the Huskies, who will take 15-5 mark, 5-3 in the Big East into tonight’s tilt with St. John’s at Madison Square Garden.

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