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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 / June 17.
  • By CHIP MILLER

    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    Stanley Johnson, a five-star power forward out of Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, has filled the final spot in his visit map, telling The Courier-Journal he will officially visit Kansas.

    With that decision, the Duke Blue Devils end up on the outside looking in, although Duke had yet to officially offer. The 6-foot-7, 226-pound Johnson had previously stated he would choose between Duke and Kansas for the fifth and final spot.

    Kentucky, Florida, Oregon and Arizona get his other four visits while local programs UCLA and USC will get official unofficial visits.

    Butler stayed in the family with its new coach.

    The Bulldogs announced that Brandon Miller, a 34-year-old former Butler player and assistant, would succeed Brad Stevens as head coach after Stevens became the head man with the Boston Celtics.

    The news comes just a few days before Miller and his staff can set out recruiting during the July live period. The Bulldogs entered the Big East July 1 and Miller can now get out and meet and greet on the recruiting trail.

    The other major candidate was Michigan assistant LaVall Jordan, a former Butler assistant under Todd Lickliter who was on the bench for the NCAA championship game this season.

    “I am extremely pleased to announce that former Butler University men’s basketball player and assistant coach Brandon Miller ’03 has been appointed as head coach of the Butler men’s basketball team, effective immediately,” Butler University Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier said.

    Marcus Smart and his USA U19 teammates know that the Americans haven’t dominated the FIBA World Championship in that age category.

    The U.S. has only won the U19s once since 1995 — in 2009 — and Smart is out to alter history.

    “This team right here is looking to change that and making a trend of going over there and dominating the 19-and-under,” the Oklahoma State sophomore point guard told SNY.tv recently.

    UPDATED 7/7/13: Dante Exum was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 18.2 points at the FIBA U19 World Championship.***

    Australian star Dante Exum is leaning towards coming to college instead of entering the 2014 NBA Draft and right now Indiana appears to be tops on his list.

    “Indiana was one of the first schools to show a real deep interest in me,” the 6-foot-5 Exum told SNY.tv from the FIBA U19 World Championship in Prague where he is the sixth-leading scorer at 16.4 points per game.

    “So I decided to take a visit to Indiana earlier this year. Just so I can see their program and what they are about. But it will be interesting to compare them to some of the others school I want to look further into when I take those visits. It has always been a goal to play in the NCAA tournament. My dad has a ring and I always wanted one for myself.”

    The Knicks need help in their frontcourt and Kentucky product Eloy Vargas hopes he can provide a solution.

    The 6-foot-11 native of the Dominican Republic is on the Knicks roster for the Las Vegas Summer League beginning July 12.

    With the retirements of Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace, the trade of Marcus Camby to the Toronto Raprots and the loss of Chris Copeland to free agency, the Knicks are in need of youth, toughness and rebounding in their frontcourt.

    “I’m just thankful and lucky to have the opportunity,” Vargas, 24, told SNY.tv by text. “I’m really excited about the opportunity that this team is giving me to showcase my skill level with them and help me develop my game at the next level.

    Cope pacersChris Copeland has agreed to a two-year deal with the Indiana Pacers, ending his brief, yet positive and entertaining tenure with the New York Knicks.

    His agent, John Spencer, texted the above picture to SNY.tv and other outlets and confirmed Copeland’s deal is worth $6.1 million, as reported by Yahoo! Sports.

    The Pacers wanted a third-year team option on the contract, but Spencer said Copeland did not agree to it.

    After adding Andrea Bargnani via trade and re-signing J.R. Smith for four years, the Knicks effectively opted to re-sign point guard Pablo Prigioni for two years over Copeland. The Knicks reportedly spent $1.5 million of their mini mid-level on Prigioni, leaving $1.75 million for Copeland.

    “I think they did the best job showing him that they really wanted him,” Spencer said of the Pacers, adding that Memphis, Denver, Cleveland, Utah, New Orleans, and the Lakers were also involved.

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