May 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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Monday / May 20.
  • WEST ORANGE, N.J. — At 6-foot-9 with an athletic build, Moustapha Diagne would seem to be a perfect fit for the back end of the Syracuse zone in years to come.

    And that’s exactly where Diagne will play after he committed to the Orange over Memphis during the Mary Kline Classic at West Orange High School.

    “It’s a good school, they have a good basketball program,” Diagne said. “And Coach [Adrian] Autry, we built a good relationship and I feel comfortable with Syracuse.”

    Ranked the No. 7 power forward in the Class of 2015 by, Diagne has visited Syracuse three times, including for the epic Duke game in February, and Orange head coach Jim Boeheim has visited him at least once at Pope John.

    “He brings a lot of energy to the court, he’s got a lot of athleticism,” Pope John XXIII coach Jason Hasson said. “He definitely is improving his offensive skills, stepping out to 15 feet. He’s going to start being able to step out to the three next year. I think he brings a lot of versatility to [Syracuse] because he can play multiple positions. He can guard multiple positions.”

    LanceDespite a wave of criticism about Lance Stephenson’s antics during the Eastern Conference Finals, his agent told there will be “no shortage” of suitors for Stephenson this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

    “He wants to make the commitment to himself and to his club — whatever club that is — to be the best person and teammate he can possibly be,” Alberto Ebanks, Stephenson’s agent, told by phone Saturday morning. “He is a work in progress.”

    After making headlines in a Game 5 Pacers’ win by blowing into LeBron James’s ear, Stephenson drew James’s ire in Game 6 by touching James on the face, causing an angry James to verbally chastise Stephenson.

    Stephenson later fouled Miami guard Norris Cole by smacking him in the face as Cole went for a loose ball.

    Tyus Battle, the electric 6-foot-5 2016 guard from Gladstone (N.J.) Gill St. Bernard’s, is planning a visit to Kentucky next month after head coach John Calipari reached out to Battle’s father and high school coach on Friday.

    Gary Battle, Tyus’ father, told they are looking at a potential June 17 visit to Kentucky following visits to Michigan June 5 and Villanova June 9. He may also visit Duke June 28, as previously reported.

    “I just hung up the phone with [Calipari],” Gary said. “He really likes Tyus and he wants to get involved in recruiting him pretty heavily. He thinks he fits the system….He wants to come watch him play and he’s looking forward to seeing him at the Peach Jam and they want to get him on campus.”

    Rawle-IsaiahGREENBURGH, N.Y. — If there was one takeaway from Thursday night’s Frankie Williams Charity Classic, it’s that Rawle Alkins may be the most exciting high school basketball player in the tri-state area.

    The 6-foot-4 Christ the King sophomore guard put on a show in going for 36 points, especially during one three-possession stint in which he dunked it one-handed in transition, then flushed two-handed in the halfcourt and followed it by draining a 3-pointer.

    “I felt unstoppable, man,” Alkins told after his Team Inspire beat Team Desire, 123-121. “I felt like I every shot I took was going to go in.”

    Alkins was named MVP of the event and Seton Hall-bound guard Isaiah Whitehead (35 points) earned Sportsmanship honors.

    McGillGREENBURGH, N.Y. — At the beginning of his junior season at Spring Valley (N.Y.) High School, Rickey McGill made a verbal pledge to Manhattan and head coach Steve Masiello.

    The 6-foot-2 combo guard thought his college plans were over and done with.

    But after Masiello appeared to be headed to South Florida this spring, only to return to Manhattan and be put on unpaid leave because it was revealed during a background check he hadn’t graduated from Kentucky, McGill had second thoughts about his future and opted to decommit.

    “I was kind of upset because I committed to play for him and he tried to leave,” the 6-foot-2 McGill told Thursday at the Frankie Williams Charity Classic.

    GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Former West Virginia standout Kevin Jones will play with the Indiana Pacers in the Orlando Summer League beginning in July.

    He will begin practicing with the Pacers June 29. Indiana trails the Miami Heat 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals entering Friday night’s Game 6 in Miami.

    “It’s a great opportunity for me because I definitely feel like it’s a team I can fit in with,” the Mount Vernon, N.Y., native told Thursday at the Frankie Williams Charity Classic. “But take it one step at a time and try to play great during summer league and hopefully get a training camp offer.”

    Jones, 24, went undrafted out of West Virginia in 2012 and has had several stints with the Canton Charge of the NBA D-League and was named a D-League All-Star in 2014. Most recently, he played in the Philippines with San Miguel Beermen.

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