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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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Sunday / May 31.
  • NEW YORK — St. John’s had four players decorated with Big East Preseason honors and received two first-place votes in the Coaches’ Poll.

    Yet somehow the Johnnies landed fifth among 10 teams.

    Did a couple of coaches vote them eighth, ninth or 10th?

    We may never know, but at least one coach believes Steve Lavin’s club has as much — if not more — talent than any team in the new-look league.

    “I think they’re as good as anybody in the league,” said Marquette coach Buzz Williams, whose team was slotted first and received five first-place votes.

    To the surprise of virtually no one, Kentucky was picked to win the SEC, while Kentucky freshman forward Julius Randle was named the league’s Preseason Player of the Year.

    Kentucky coach John Calipari has said he plans to play the 6-foot-9, 250-pound Randle away from the basket to help prepare him for the NBA. Randle is projected as the No. 2 pick in next year’s draft behind Andrew Wiggins of Kansas by DraftExpress.com.

    “Well, what’s happening right now, we’re playing him in a position as though he’s a two or a three,” Calipari said at UK media day. “So he’s just now getting comfortable being — starting from 20 feet out.”

    Here are the preseason rankings and All-Conference teams for the Big East and American Athletic Conference.

    The Big East Preseason Player of the Year, Doug McDermott, is a kid from Iowa who’s never played a game in the Big East or Madison Square Garden.

    The AAC Preseason Player of the Year, Russ Smith, is a kid from Brooklyn who’s never played a game in the AAC or a conference tournament game in Memphis.

     

    BIG EAST PRESEASON POLL (1st place votes in parens)

    1. Marquette (5)

    2. Georgetown (2)

    3. Creighton (1)

    4. Villanova

    5. St. John’s (2)

    Andrew Wiggins’ first shoe deal could be worth $180 million.

    So says a couple of sneaker industry experts who spoke to Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report.

    “From what I’m hearing, (Adidas) is really high on him,” an industry source told Zwerling. “I’ve heard a range for sure, from like $140 to $180 million for like 10 years. That’s a big deal for a kid coming out of school because most rookie deals are probably like four years.”

    “I’m hearing from people at Kansas that he’s got a $180 million offer supposedly coming from Adidas,” a source close to Wiggins’ inner circle said. “But I also heard that Nike is going to match anything.”

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_1_3Wv19hU&w=560&h=315]

    Loaded up with a team of future NBA first-round picks, John Calipari isn’t being shy about his goals.

    “I’ve said it for eight to ten years. Before I retire, I would like to coach a team that goes 40-0,” Calipari said Tuesday at Kentucky’s media Day.

    Kentucky went 38-2 two years ago when it won the national championship.

    Will Kentucky go undefeated?