April 2014 | Page 23 of 28 | 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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Sunday / July 14.
  • Boat and BAzzARLINGTON, Texas — Kentucky has seven McDonald’s All-Americans on its roster.

    UConn has none.

    Kentucky has seven projected NBA players.

    UConn has two.

    But Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright aren’t phased one bit.

    “Yeah, they’re All-Americans and they’re supposed to be future pros,” Boatright said here Sunday. “We don’t really look into that. It’s another game.


    Should I stay or should I go now?
    Should I stay or should I go now?
    If I go there will be trouble
    And if I stay it will be double
    So come on and let me know

    The Clash

    ARLINGTON, TexasAndrew and Aaron Harrison and their Kentucky teammates are one win from an NCAA championship.

    Sometime after Monday night’s title game with UConn at AT&T Stadium, they will face a fascinating choice.

    Will they declare for the NBA Draft despite being projected as late-first or second round picks? Or will they return to campus for their sophomore seasons? And what advice will Kentucky coach John Calipari provide about the situation?

    Through interviews with several NBA executives, scouts and draft experts, it becomes clear that the Harrisons will be viewed by their overall body of work this season — and that whatever “bump” they are receiving from Kentucky’s run to a potential NCAA championship will be limited.

    “They’re both completely different players,” ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla told SNY.tv. “They may wind up being more famous for winning an NCAA championship than what they accomplish in their NBA careers.”

    Aaron Harrison SIARLINGTON, Texas –– Monday night’s NCAA championship game between Kentucky and UConn will feature a slew of future NBA players.

    Four players in the game are projected by DraftExpress.com to be taken in the 2014 NBA Draft, while five are projected to go in the 2015 Draft. Of course, that is subject to change.

    Here’s a brief overview of where the various Kentucky and UConn players are projected to go, along with links to stories about their draft stock.


    Julius Randle

    Rank in Draft Express Top 100 Prospects: No. 4

    Projected Pick: No. 4 in 2014 (Utah Jazz)

    Related story: Julius Randle’s NBA Stock on the Rise


    ARLINGTON, Texas
    — In the moments after Aaron Harrison took — and made — the biggest shot of his life, Kentucky coach John Calipari motioned for the freshman to go visit his parents courtside.

    Marian and Aaron Harrison Sr. hugged their son after his clutch 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds remaining ended up being the difference — again — as Kentucky advanced to the NCAA championship game for the second time in three years with a thrilling 74-73 victory over Wisconsin at AT&T Stadium.

    “This is what he does,” Aaron Harrison Sr. said courtside. “He’s done this his entire life. I knew when he got it, he was going to take it.”

    After the shot, the father proudly held up his index finger and said “One more.”

    Yes, Kentucky, which started off as the preseason No. 1 amid talk of a potential 40-0 season only to fall out of the poll after stumbling late in the year, will play UConn for the school’s ninth national championship on Monday night.

    DeAndre DanielsARLINGTON, Texas — In the moments after playing the biggest game of his career on the grandest stage, DeAndre Daniels stood face-to-face with Jim Calhoun in a corner of the UConn locker room in the AT&T Center.

    Daniels had just walked into the victorious locker room after putting up a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the No. 7 Huskies into their second NCAA championship game in four years via a 63-53 victory over No. 1 overall seed Florida. The upset snapped a 30-game winning streak by the Gators and means UConn is responsible for two of Florida’s three losses this season.

    “He was a top 20 player in high school. One of the nicest kids I’ve ever met in my life. I told him he should be more like his coach, ex-coach,” Calhoun told SNY.tv exclusively with a wry smile, referring to himself. “Be a son of a bitch on the court, and he’s being that way.”

    Ben SimmonsBy JOHN PAVIA

    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    NEW YORK — To cap the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School National Tournament, Montverde Academy (FL) held off Oak Hill Academy (VA), 71-62, to repeat as champions in what was their third straight finals appearance.

    Playing in Madison Square Garden, the mecca of basketball, can be intimidating and cause jitters for some players, but you’d never know it by watching Ben Simmons play on Saturday. The Australian, who won the MVP of the tournament and is heading to LSU after next year, was an absolute monster on the court as he finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.


    ARLINGTON, Texas— A year ago Sunday, Dakari Johnson predicted Kentucky would win the NCAA championship in 2014.

    The 7-foot Johnson had just delivered 18 points and 8 rebounds to help lead Montverde (FL) Academy over Tyler Ennis and St. Benedict’s Prep in the ESPN National High School Invitational championship at Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda, Md.

    “It means so much…coming out here and winning a national championship,” a smiling Johnson told the world on ESPN. “And I’m going to win a national championship at Kentucky next year.”

    Here we are a year later and Kentucky is two wins from making Johnson look like Nostradamus. 

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