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.
NBA Prospect LeVert Leads No. 19 Michigan Past Oregon
By CHRIS RUSSELL
NEW YORK — In a match-up between two high-powered offenses, No. 19 Michigan and Oregon squared off in the second game of the Legends Classic at Barclays Center Monday night.
In a tight contest in which Michigan never trailed, the Wolverines converted on their free throws late in the game to hold on to win, 70-63.
Michigan (4-0) will face Villanova (4-0) in Tuesday’s championship game (10 p.m., ESPN2). The game will follow the consolation game between Oregon and VCU (7:30, ESPNU).
“I have to applaud Oregon. They played so hard, they did a great job,” said Michigan coach John Beilein. “Few times you will see someone give up 18 offensive rebounds and still get a W. We did enough things to win the game.”
The Wolverines were led by guard Zak Irvin, who scored 19 points on 3-for-6 shooting. Rising star Caris LeVert went for 18 points and 5 rebounds. Freshman Ricky Doyle came through in the final minute with a clutch tip-in. He finished with 10 points.
“It was huge for us, especially down the stretch,” said LeVert. “Coach calls those ‘the outliers,’ and Ricky was definitely one of those, getting big offensive rebounds and a couple of and-one’s as well.”
The 6-foot-7 LeVert displayed his versatility by running the point guard position and guarding Oregon’s leading scorer Joseph Young in crucial situations. Young went for 20 points on 5-for-16 shooting.
“Has good size for his position. Quick first step and very athletic,” an NBA scout told SNY.tv of LeVert Monday night.
LeVert is a Top 15 projected draft pick and could rise higher with impressive performances like this.
For Oregon, this past offseason was a rollercoaster.
The offseason problems started this past May when three players were dismissed from the team after an alleged sexual assault. Two more players transferred. Top recruit Ray Kasongo was not admitted and five-star guard JaQuan Lyle has yet to be deemed eligible. In addition, five more players’ eligibility ran out.
The Ducks entered the game with only nine scholarship players. Oregon’s bench was outscored 19-5 in the game, a sign of lacking quality depth.
“The guys played hard,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We just didn’t play very smart and that’s my fault. We didn’t run the offense the way we should have. We gave up a lot of easy baskets and that’s my job to prevent that.”
Michigan entered the season having to replace key players from last year’s squad. Underclassmen Nik Stauskas, Mich McGary and Glenn Robinson III all entered the NBA draft.
Photo: US Presswire
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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.