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.
And if you ask the Duke players, they’d be in favor of it, too.
“Yep, it would be nice,” Jabari Parker , the potential No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, said in response to a question from SNY.tv after he wowed a Garden crowd that included Bruce Springsteen, Tyson Chandler and Tim Hardaway Jr. by going for 23 points and 10 rebounds in Duke’s 80-63 win over UCLA.
“It’d be to our side of course.”
Point guard Quinn Cook, who fed Parker a sweet alley-oop pass for a dunk en route to a 14-point, 5-assist night, was even more emphatic.
“Ooh, I hope we come here,” Cook said. “It’s that feeling you get when you walk into this [Knicks] locker room. It’s just a different feeling. Hopefully, we end up there.”
Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com currently has Duke as the No. 2 seed in the West, but Duke has played three games at the Garden in the last month, going 2-1 with wins over Alabama and UCLA and a loss to Aaron Gordon and Arizona in the final of the Preseason NIT.
The Blue Devils have won 16 of their last 19 at the Garden.
The crowd of 15,410 was overwhelmingly pro-Duke in the UCLA game and would figure to be again during an East Regional
“It was a great atmosphere,” Parker said. “It was finally the first place where we had a lot of fans. Not a lot of [UCLA] fans but that was probably because UCLA was on the other coast but it felt good just bringing the win.”
Duke’s Rodney Hood, who had 14 points and 5 rebounds, also said he’d love to play the East Regional in the Big Apple March 28-30.
“Oh, I would love to play here,” the Mississippi native told SNY.tv. “I love MSG. Just the lights and the feeling you get when you walk on the court. It’s just an amazing feeling, and I’m playing in the Mecca.
“It’s a great venue to have a Regional, you know here, and hopefully we come here, but we’ll see.”
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.