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.
Iona junior guard A.J. English has received visits from a dozen NBA scouts, according to Iona officials.
Entering today’s game at George Mason, the 6-foot-4 English is the leading scorer in the nation—averaging 24.4 points per game. He is also the son of former NBA player A.J. English II, who played a few seasons with the Washington Bullets in the early ‘90s.
Despite a game against Indiana State on Saturday where he only scored eight points—his lowest output of the season—Sycamore coach Greg Lansing immediately saw pro potential.
“For one, watching him, he just looks like a pro,” Lansing said. “Does everything, can stroke, gets off the bounce, also gives it up. He knows he has good guys around him. He missed a couple open shots, but we had a good defender on too.”
English struggled against Indiana State, shooting 1-11 from the floor. Despite his shots not falling, Iona coach Tim Cluess was still pleased with his star guard’s performance.
“Best thing he can [do] is let the other guys get their opportunities,” Cluess said. “And he did. And he’s so unselfish, he’ll share the ball, he’ll run decoy at time to get other guys open.”
Prior to the Indiana State game, English had a seven-game 20+ point streak. In three of those games, he had more than 30 points. The MAAC Player of the Week for the week of Nov. 24 also had an incredible performance against Rider in early December, scoring 30 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. English is averaging 5.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. He is also shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc.
“[The NBA scouts] have all been very excited about how A.J.’s been playing,” Cluess told SNY.tv in November. “They liked his size for a point guard, being 6-foot-4 and the fact that he can attack the rim the way he does, shoot it the way he does and he’s passing the ball very well. He’s rangy on defense, he’s got like a 6-9 1/2 wingspan, so he’s definitely got an NBA body and a possibility, if he keeps developing, of an NBA game.”
Iona officials acknowledged that they expect more NBA scouts to visit New Rochelle once the scouts finish with the Power 5 conference players. English is ranked as the 61st-best junior on DraftExpress’ Big Board.
It is unclear if English will declare for the draft after this season.
Iona, the preseason No. 1 team in the MAAC, has the ability to make the tournament and make some noise. With English, David Laury, Isaiah Williams and Schadrac Casimir, the Gaels have potential as a Cinderella team.
And that would give English all the attention he deserves.
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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.