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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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Tuesday / July 16.

    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    CHICAGO — The Chicago Sun-Times has called Nick Rakocevic one of the best prospects from Illinois in the class of 2016 — if not the best. Around here, that arrives with some pressure.

    “It’s definitely unreal looking at who the last prospects were in Illinois,” Rakocevic told SNY.tv. “Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor… Me being compared to those guys is insane.”

    Rakocevic, a 6-foot-10 center from Westchester (IL) St. Joseph’s, aims for more reasonable aspirations. With solid performances this summer for the prestigious Mac Irvin Fire AAU program, he could vault into the Top-25 of national rankings. He also dreams of playing in the McDonald’s All-American game.

    “Until that happens, I’ve gotta keep working,” he said.

    MonteroBy ZACH SMART

    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    Luis Montero entered Westchester (N.Y.) Community College as one of the most heralded Dominican basketball wunderkinds since heavily-hyped New York natives Felipe Lopez and Luis Flores.

    The 6-foot-8 off guard/wing has been widely regarded as an NBA prospect since he was 16, catapulting to cult hero status in the Caribbean.

    “He’s like a guard, he thinks he’s 6-feet,” said Westchester Community College head coach Tyrone Mushatt, noting Montero’s supreme handles for his size and proclivity for creating his shot off the dribble.


    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    Allonzo Trier, the 2015 former Montrose Christian School (Md.) shooting guard, announced via Twitter on Monday that he will play for new head coach Andy Johnson at powerhouse Findlay Prep during his senior season.

    “And for these reasons my family and I feel it is in my best interest to transfer to Findlay Prep of the Henderson International School,” he Tweeted.

    Trier will pair in the backcourt at Findlay with 2016 guard Derryck Thornton, who visited Michigan this past weekend.

    WinslowTwenty-four of the country’s top 18-and-unders who accepted invitations to participate in the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team training camp, will arrive on Tuesday to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in hopes of making the 12-member USA U18 National Team roster.

    Headlining the group of invitees set to participate in training camp is a trio of high school seniors who each have two gold medals playing internationally for USA Basketball: Arizona-bound Stanley Johnson (Mater Dei H.S./Fullerton, Calif.) and Duke commits Tyus Jones (Apple Valley H.S./Apple Valley Minn.) and Justise Winslow (St. John’s School/Houston, Texas). In addition, eight others have at least attended a USA Basketball camp.

    Tyus Battle ZagTyus Battle, the multi-dimensional 2016 guard out of Gladstone (N.J.) Gill St. Bernard’s, enjoyed his weekend visit to Michigan and has a busy couple of weeks ahead.

    The 6-foot-6 Battle will visit Villanova on Tuesday and then head to Kentucky on June 17. He may also stop in at Louisville on the way to Kentucky, his father told SNY.tv.

    “We’re trying to really focus on Kentucky right now,” Gary Battle told SNY.tv by phone. “That’s always been something we had planned to do and Cal had expressed some high interest in the kid and he’s always wanted to go and check it out.”

    Cal UKJames Ulis, the father of incoming Kentucky point guard Tyler Ulis, says he’s relieved that John Calipari is staying at Kentucky to coach his son, and isn’t surprised that an NBA franchise like the Cleveland Cavaliers would want Calipari to coach.

    “I’m just glad he’s going to be there [at Kentucky],” James Ulis told SNY.tv. “I just think he’s going to bring out a better part of Tyler because of the way he develops point guards.”

    Yahoo! Sports reported that Calapari and the Cavs were “deep in discussions…on a seven-year, $60 million-plus contract” that would’ve made him president and coach.

    “If you’re successful, I think organizations are going to want you to run their team,” James Ulis said.

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