December 2014 | Page 18 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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Tuesday / June 25.

    BENTON, Ky.Carlton Bragg will wait to see who stays on campus and who heads to the NBA before making his college decision.

    “I was going to do it in December but stuff got changed,” Bragg said at the Marshall County Hoop Fest on Friday, one day before he is expected to be seen by Kentucky’s John Calipari, Kansas’ Bill Self and Illinois’ John Groce .

    Asked if who will return to campus will have an impact on his decision, Bragg said,  “Who I am going to play with [has an impact], yes sir.”

    The 6-foot-8 forward from Villa Angela-St. Joseph  is considering Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA and Illinois, but the Ohio native said Texas had been a favorite at one point.

    The last time St. John’s beat Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, Bill Clinton was in the White House, Britney Spears topped the charts and Michael Jordan had just announced his second retirement.

    That was Jan. 27, 1999 and D’Angelo Harrison was 5 years old.

    “This will be a big win for us if we get it,” Harrison, St. John’s senior shooting guard, said Friday. “I’m looking forward to it.”

    St. John’s (5-1) and Syracuse (5-2) — two former Big East rivals — will tangle Saturday afternoon (5:15 p.m., ESPN2).

    MudiayEmmanuel Mudiay could “pull an Exum” and just not play competitive basketball until the 2015 NBA Draft, one league source told Friday.

    “Sources close to him say that he is going to pull a Dante Exum,” the source said. “That is more logical than coming back to play in the D-League.”

    After not playing competitively last season, the 6-foot-6 Exum ended up as the No. 5 pick of the Utah Jazz in the 2014 Draft. There was an aura of mystique around the Australian guard precisely because he hadn’t played competitively, which prevented scouts and analysts from picking apart his game. He’s currently averaging 4.5 points and 2.2 assists for the Jazz.

    Just two years ago, Texas coach Rick Barnes was on the hot seat because of the team’s struggles, which included a 16-18 record in 2012-13 and a first-round loss in the CBI.

    Barnes also took heat for failing to land the state’s best prospects.

    In the Class of 2012, Texas missed out on in-state stars Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke), Isaiah Austin (Baylor) and Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State).

    A year later, Texas stars Andrew and Aaron Harrison and Julius Randle all committed to Kentucky, Matt Jones picked Duke and Keith Frazier chose SMU.

    Thon MakerBy CHIP MILLER

    BENTON, Ky. — Fresh off back-to-back visits to Kentucky and Louisville, Thon Maker appears to be on the brink of reclassifying to the Class of 2015, which could have a profound impact on the 2016 NBA Draft.

    “I’ll know that by the end of this semester,” the 7-foot center from Ontario’s Orangeville Prep said at the Marshall County Hoop Fest. “It should be around there, so I’ll know where I stand in terms of academics.”

    Asked if reclassification is what he wants to do, Maker said,  “That’s what I’m trying to look into.”

    Coach KIn May of 2013, when the ACC knew it was adding Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame for the upcoming season and Louisville for 2014-15, Coach K issued this famous proclamation.

    “We’re going to be a 10-bid conference,” the Duke coach said. “We’re going to be the best conference in the history of the game. It’s exciting to be part of that.”

    In light of recent events, it seems appropriate to revisit Coach K’s comments.

    Across the past three days, the ACC fell behind the Big Ten 5-0 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge before rallying late to win six of the final nine games, including four of six on Wednesday night, highlighted by Duke’s impressive 80-70 victory over No. 2 Wisconsin.

    John CalipariESPN’s Colin Cowherd made quite the statement Thursday about the college basketball landscape this season.

    “Kentucky’s going to have to have like four major injuries [not to win the NCAA title],” he said on his radio program. “They don’t even look like the other teams.”

    That statement probably has Big Blue Nation worried about a massive jinx being sent their way.

    But Kentucky is No. 1 in the land and just about everybody’s favorite to cut down the nets come April.

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