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.
GLADSTONE, N.J. — Duke will come three deep with Coach K, Jeff Capel and Jon Scheyer on Wednesday when they meet with 2016 guard Tyus Battle at Gill St. Bernard’s.
“The fact that [Coach K] is taking some time off [from his team] where I know he is completely exhausted [from the FIBA World Cup] and has to get back to his own team, and for him to come down here with the whole staff, that’s impressive,” Gill coach Mergin Sina said Tuesday at the school.
“To me, that’s saying that the guy really believes that this is a kid who could help his program.”
Said the 6-foot-6 Battle, who turned 17 on Tuesday: “It’s great. I’m just enjoying the whole college recruiting experience.”
A Who’s Who of big-time Division 1 coaches has been through the school in the past two weeks to pitch Battle.
Arizona assistant Book Richardson, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Virginia’s Tony Bennett, UConn’s Kevin Ollie, Miami’s Jim Larranaga, Louisville’s Rick Pitino, Villanova’s Jay Wright, Rutgers’ Eddie Jordan, Michigan’s John Beilein, Ohio State’s Thad Matta and Florida’s Billy Donovan have also made their pitches to Battle.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who assisted Coach K on the gold-medal winning World Championship team, is due in Friday with some of his staff.
As for Duke, Battle is slated to visit the school next month. He will also visit Kentucky for Midnight Madness.
Sina, who played at Rhode Island, joked that the last time he saw Coach K was in 1988 when they were opponents.
“I actually played against him,” Sina said. “My Rhode Island team, we lost to him in the Sweet 16. That was the last time I probably saw him so I’ll remind him.”
Gill St. Bernard’s is an elite academic school, and Sina says Duke is a “home run” for any student there.
“There’s a difference between a Duke, a Michigan, a Virginia and some other schools, but for our school [that’s a] home run,” Sina said . “We had a kid go to Stanford last year on the girls’ program and that is a home run. And it’s a home run in two ways, great program and great academics.
“But we won’t push the kid one way or another, and obviously that’s a family decision.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.