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.
Carlton Bragg is now down to four schools after Arizona opted to stop recruiting him.
The 6-foot-8 Bragg from Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph will now choose from among Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA and Illinois, with whom he had his final in-home visit on Tuesday night.
“Arizona dropped out,” Michael Graves, Bragg’s mentor, told SNY.tv. “They informed us that they love Carlton but they’re going to pursue other people.”
Illinois is seen as a long shot for Bragg — only 6 percent of pundits on the 247Sports Crystal Ball picked the Illini — but that didn’t stop head coach John Groce and two assistants from making their pitch.
“They spent a lot of time really just talking with the family about how they’ve been there from the beginning,”Graves said.“They have been one of the only schools to recruit him hard, like he needed to be recruited. They treated him like he was their top priority, that was one thing that they stressed. They haven’t missed a game in two years with somebody from their staff. If it wasn’t Coach Groce, it was Dustin [Ford], Jamall [Walker] or Paris [Parham]. They really stressed the point that they’ve been there from the beginning.”
Bragg has officials set to Kansas (Oct. 10), Kentucky (Oct. 17) and UCLA (Oct. 31) but still has no visit set for Illinois.
“We’re going to wait until later on in the year or after Carlton’s high school season,” Graves said.
Still, Graves said Illinois remains a viable option.
“Oh, yeah, they wouldn’t have made the final list if we didn’t really like them,” Graves said.
Like many other elite 2015 players, Bragg plans to sign late.
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.