January 2014 | 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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Wednesday / April 24.

    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    ROSELLE, N.J. – Asante Gist has quickly become one of the most coveted young players in New Jersey, not only for his play this season, but also last season and during offseason tournaments as well.

    A 5-foot-11 sophomore guard, Gist is averaging 13.5 points and 5.4 assists per game for the surging Roselle Catholic Lions, who have won four of their last five and have a record of 9-4 entering Friday’s tilt against St. Benedict’s Prep in the Newark National Invitational at Essex County College (7:30 p.m.). St. Peter’s Prep meets Gill St. Bernard’s in the first boys’ game at 5:45.

    Gist’s play, along with the recent introduction of nationally-rated guard Isaiah Briscoe to the team, has transformed Roselle Catholic into a team capable of repeating as the Tournament of Champions winner with arguably the best backcourt duo in the state.


    NEW YORK — During his visit to Madison Square Garden Thursday night, Anthony Bennett was exposed by J.R. Smith and consoled by Carmelo Anthony.

    Such is the state of affairs for the reigning No. 1 Draft pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    During the first quarter of the Knicks’ 117-86 blowout of the Cavs, Smith dazzled Bennett with his crossover and left him in his wake before driving the baseline for an emphatic dunk.

    “[The Knicks] spread the floor and if they see a mismatch they will iso what they think is the mismatch,” Cavs coach Mike Brown said after the game. “With Bennett being a young guy, that is where they wanted to go with it.”

    NEW YORK — Joel Embiid is projected by many to be the top pick in the NBA Draft, but NBA analyst Greg Anthony believes the Kansas freshman should spend at least one more year on campus.

    “The guy I would hope wouldn’t come out would be Embiid because I don’t think he’s ready, I don’t think he’s polished enough,” Anthony told SNY.tv Thursday night at Madison Square Garden where he was doing the Cavaliers-Knicks game.

    “[His] instincts aren’t where you want them to be. At this level, they don’t teach, they coach.”

    NEW YORK — Following yet another Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss, Kyrie Irving addressed the latest round of reports that he wants out of Cleveland — but stopped short of saying he will sign an extension this summer.

    “I’m in Cleveland, I enjoy myself,” the former Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick star said following his 24-point performance in the Cavs’ 117-86 loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

    “I enjoy going out there and competing at the highest level for the Cleveland Cavaliers. And that’s what it’s about. It’s not about me and it’s not about this controversy surrounding do I privately want to come out when my contract is up.

    Lance Stephenson By ADAM ZAGORIA & JOSH NEWMAN

    NEW YORK — Lance Stephenson responded to being snubbed for the  All-Star Game with his fourth-triple double of the season, twice as many as anyone else in the NBA.

    Stephenson went for 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 102-94 home loss to the Phoenix Suns.

    Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Nicolas Batum all have two triple-doubles, according to ESPN.

    The Brooklyn native entered the night averaging 14.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists for the Pacers (35-10), who own the NBA’s best record.

    “Lance’s focus has been to help the Pacers win a championship,” his agent, Alberto Ebanks, told SNY.tv.



    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    One of the top point guards in the Class of 2016 has some of the biggest names in the country calling.

    Kobi Simmons, a 6-foot-5 point guard from Alpharetta St. Francis (Ga.) has played alongside Josh Langford and Braxton Blackwell, during the summer for the Atlanta Celtics, causing some serious matchup problems for most teams they faced.

    A long and lanky lead guard with a great deal of skill and feel for his size, there is definitely a reason why the best schools in the country are looking into his game.

    Parker-EnnisEarly this season it appeared as if Duke’s Jabari Parker might be the runaway favorite for ACC Freshman of the Year honors — maybe even conference and/or National Player of the Year.

    But with the way Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis has been running his team, he nows present a legitimate challenge to Parker for Freshman of the Year honors.

    Although one is a small forward and one is a point guard, the two players will face off for the first of two regular-season meetings on Saturday when No. 2 Syracuse hosts No. 17 Duke at a sold-out Carrier Dome.

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