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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 / April 18.
  • SamuelNEW YORK — As he sat inside a math class at Victory Collegiate High for two months last summer, there were times when Terrence Samuel wondered what his future might hold.

    “It was a definitely a little frustrating because I wanted to be in college around my coaches, just to be around the atmosphere,” Samuel told in the corner of the UConn locker room following the team’s 81-76 victory over Iowa State in the Sweet 16 at Madison Square Garden.

    The 6-foot-4 Brooklyn native was informed by UConn in June that the NCAA had not cleared one of his math classes.

    “My school [Brooklyn South Shore] gave me a math class that the NCAA didn’t approve so I was half a credit short,” he said.

    Dave Rice

    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    The University of South Florida was forced to move on with its search for a new head coach in the wake of the Steve Masiello background discrepancy earlier this week, but the Bulls certainly aren’t waiting around.

    Multiple outlets reported late Friday afternoon that South Florida has offered its head-coaching position to UNLV head coach Dave Rice, which comes as something of a surprise as his name hadn’t come up previously in the search.

    While Masiello’s deal was reported to be for five years and $6.2 million, Rice’s potential contract is said to be for five years and $6.2 million. Rice’s UNLV contract has three years remaining at $700,000 per. A proposed 2-year extension has not been forwarded to the Board of Regents.


    With Tyler Ennis headed to the NBA Draft, Syracuse fans are wondering, what’s next?

    Barry Connors, who coaches incoming Syracuse point guard Kaleb Joseph at Cushing (MA) Academy, says not to worry.

    “Hell, if I had a vested interest in Syracuse I’d be worried, too,” Connors told by phone Friday morning. “You’re losing a point guard who’s pretty damn good. I got some news for you. This kid’s ready.”

    Connors spouted off a few impressive stats and also delved into Joseph’s game.

    Adreian PayneBy JOSH NEWMAN
    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    NEW YORK – Michigan St. senior forward Adreian Payne has had a strong season for the Spartans, but his NBA Draft stock has only just recently received a major shot in the arm.

    In the second round of the NCAA Tournament last week against Delaware, the 6-foot-10, 245-pounder had a career-high 41 points and eight rebounds in a 93-78 rout of Delaware. The 41 points came on 10-for-15 shooting from the floor and 17-for-17 from the foul line.

    His NBA future was already trending in the right direction, but that stat line was the real eye-opener as he has now moved well inside the first round on reputable mock drafts.

    As the fourth-seeded Spartans ready for No. 1 seed Virginia this evening in an East Regional semifinal at Madison Square Garden, the NBA is predictably not on Payne’s mind. If he continues to play how he is playing, the NBA will not only take care of itself, but the Spartans may be heading to North Texas and the Final Four next weekend.

    NEW YORK — Fred Hoiberg’s
    first memory of meeting Kevin Ollie involved tasty homemade pancakes.

    The two high school players were visiting Arizona on a recruiting trip and coach Lute Olson’s late wife Bobbi made them flapjacks.

    “The most amazing pancakes I’ve ever had, apple cinnamon pancakes,” Hoiberg recalled Thursday in a hallway at Madison Square Garden.

    During that recruiting trip, Olson told the players that he only had one scholarship left and whoever committed first would get it.

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