December 2014 | Page 12 of 21 | Zagsblog
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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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Monday / May 27.
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    A year ago, a Kentucky-bound New Jersey high school senior had two goals: win the New Jersey Tournament of Champions and then follow that up with an NCAA championship as a freshman at Kentucky.

    That was Karl-Anthony Towns’ message to me in February.

    Towns did in fact lead St. Joe’s-Metuchen to the TOC title in March and is now part of an undefeated No.-1 ranked team in Lexington.

    A year later, Isaiah Briscoe is in an eerily similar position.

    NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at KentuckyBy CHRIS RUSSELL

    What Kentucky is trying to accomplish hasn’t been done since Bob Knight’s Indiana club went 32-0 in 1976: go undefeated.

    After dismantling their first 11 opponents by double-digits, the idea of finishing the season unbeaten is starting to gain support.

    “Okay folks, start lining up to tell me why it’s ridiculous to say Kentucky can go undefeated,” Seth Davis said on CBS during halftime of No. 1 Kentucky’s 84-70 win over North Carolina on Saturday. “If Kentucky loses, it will come against a lesser team it overlooks. When the Cats are dialed in like this, only Duke can hang with them.”

    We’ll throw Arizona and Gonzaga into that conversation, too. And we’ll know a lot more about the Cats on the night of Dec. 27, after they face fellow Bluegrass rival Louisville — also unbeaten — at the KFC Yum! Center.

    NCAA Basketball: Iona at ArkansasBy JEREMY FUCHS

    NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. –– In his first game back from a one-game suspension for a reported misdemeanor assault charge, Iona forward David Laury showed why he was awarded the preseason MAAC Player of the Year award.

    In 37 minutes of play, Laury led all scorers with a career-high 30 points, along with 11 rebounds and three assists in Iona’s 91-84 win over Indiana State Saturday.

    “I just wanted to have my teammates’ back, like they had my back the other night [against Rider],” Laury said, referring to the team’s win without him on Friday. “Tonight I wanted to come out and be aggressive.”

    Laury was arrested Tuesday night in New Rochelle by the New Rochelle Police Department following an incident a few blocks from campus, police confirmed to SNY.tv.

    Both Laury and coach Tim Cluess declined to comment on Laury’s suspension.

    B4wqbG7IYAYauBcBy JACK LeGWIN

    Dusan Kovacevic is primed for a huge year.

    At 6-foot-10, the Serbian senior big man from Rabun Gap (GA) can do a little bit of everything, and some of the best programs in the nations have taken notice. When Kovacevic was asked what he thought sparked all of the recent interest, he had a definitive answer.

    “I think it’s because I’m very skilled,” Kovacevic told SNY.tv. “Not a lot of guys at 6-foot-10 can do what I do.”

    NCAA Basketball: Champions Classic-Kansas vs KentuckyBy JOSH NEWMAN

    With Alex Poythress done for the season because of a torn ACL, some believed John Calipari’s platoon system would take a hit. 

    At least on Saturday, that notion proved false. Based on what went on during the Wildcats’ 84-70 rout of the University of North Carolina on Saturday, Poythress being out may actually turn out to be helpful.

    Trey Lyles started in place of Poythress, then stayed on the floor as part of the usual second platoon. Lyles, Tyler Ulis, Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker all saw an increase in minutes, and Willie Cauley-Stein (15 points, 6-for-9 FGs, six rebounds, four steals, two blocks) continued his ascension up draft boards as the top-ranked Wildcats (11-0) remain on a collision course with No. 4 and fellow-unbeaten Louisville. The in-state rivals will play on Dec. 27 at the KFC Yum! Center.

    “You had one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight guys, Marcus Lee played 12 and got eight points in 12 minutes,” Calipari said. “And the reason he played 12 is because Willie played 28.”

    “And Willie Cauley was really, he was ‘Willie good’ today.”

    CainSince decommitting from Delaware last month, St. Benedict’s Prep 2015 guard Eli Cain has been getting recruited by some high-major programs.

    “I’ve been hearing from Cincinnati, Providence, Siena and Pitt,” Cain told SNY.tv.

    Fordham has also reached out, St. Benedict’s coach Mark Taylor said.

    A Willingboro, N.J., native Cain committed to Delaware in September but didn’t sign an NLI.

    Playing in front of a charged crowd at Montverde (FL) Academy and a national television audience on ESPN2, Ben Simmons showed why he’s considered a future star in the college and pro ranks.

    The 6-foot-10 Simmons displayed his explosive game as a point-forward while notching a triple-double of 22 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds as Montverde, the No. 1 team in the ESPN high school basketball rankings, remained unbeaten with a 78-64 victory over No. 12 Oakland (CA) Bishop O’Dowd.

    “I had a goal ahead of me which was to be considered the top player in America for high school and I’ve finally reached that point where some call me the top three,” the Australian product said on ESPN2 before the game.

    “I’m at a stage now where I’m just trying to make my team better and get to the next level and make myself get better.”

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