Entering Jordan Classic, Four Elite American Players Remain on the Board | Zagsblog
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Tuesday / September 26.
  • Entering Jordan Classic, Four Elite American Players Remain on the Board

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    UnknownNEW YORKEntering Friday’s Jordan Brand Classic at Barclays Center, only four elite uncommitted American players now remain on the board in the Class of 2015.

    Late Thursday night, Stephen Zimmerman committed to UNLV, leaving the number of uncommitted guys in the Jordan Game at three — Malik Newman, Cheick Diallo and Jaylen Brown. Brandon Ingram, who is not here in New York because he’s not a Nike kid, has also yet to publicly announce.

    In just the past couple of weeks, three other big men came off the board when Caleb Swanigan pledged to Michigan State, Diamond Stone chose Maryland and Thomas Bryant picked Indiana.

    Obviously, none of those four recent commits — Zimmerman, Swanigan, Stone or Bryant — chose Kentucky even though all of them save Stone had the Wildcats on their list. It remains possible that Kentucky won’t land Newman, Diallo or Brown either, which would be somewhat of a unique experience for Kentucky coach John Calipari, who already has the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation but is used to having his pick of elite players.

    Keep in mind that the NCAA late signing period began Wednesday and the NBA Early Entry Draft Deadline is April 26.

    Here’s a brief look at the other uncommitted players and where they stand:



    Diallo actionThe 6-9 McDonald’s All-American Game MVP from Our Savior New American is getting close to a decision, but declined to speak with reporters here on Wednesday.

    Diallo is considering Iowa State, St. John’s, Kentucky, Kansas and Pitt.

    He was expected to have in-home visits beginning this weekend with Kansas’s Bill Self and St. John’s Chris Mullin, with possible visits also with Kentucky’s John Calipari, Pitt’s Jamie Dixon and Iowa State’s Fred Holberg also upcoming.

    “I’m trying to make a decision maybe Jordan Game or after Jordan Game,” he told OregonLive.com at last week’s Nike Hoop Summit. “I wanna know what players are going to the NBA and what players are not going. That’s my big thing.”

    Diallo is projected at No. 12 in 2016 by DraftExpress.com.



    4_2942412The 6-8 wing from Kinston (N.C.) High is considering  North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State, Kentucky, Kansas and UCLA.

    Ingram met with Duke coaches Friday morning and will meet with Kentucky coaches Friday night, according to Ben Roberts. He’s also scheduled to host Kansas (Saturday), N.C. State (Monday) and North Carolina (Wednesday) next, per Roberts.

    Duke-bound guard Luke Kennard, who is here in New York, would love to have Ingram join him next year with the Blue Devils.

    Ingram is projected at No. 6 in 2016 by DraftExpress.com.



    Malik Newman actionThe 6-4 guard out of Callaway (MS) is considering Kentucky, Kansas , LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and N.C. State.

    He told SNY.tv here this week that he doesn’t have a timetable on a decision and won’t sign a National Letter of Intent when he does pick a school.

    “Whenever it feels right,” he said Wednesday of making a decision.

    As we’ve written, LSU commits Ben Simmons and Antonio Blakeney are working to get him to join them, while Kentucky-bound point guard Isaiah Briscoe is doing the same.

    Newman is projected at No. 5 in 2016 by DraftExpress.com.



    4_969007The 6-7 Brown out of Marietta (GA) Wheeler is keeping everyone guessing and recently appeared in this epic Bleacher Report video with him wearing the jerseys of all eight teams on his list — Cal, UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan, Georgia, Georgia Tech and North Carolina, adding at the end, “You’ll find out soon enough.”

    He did not practice here on Thursday because he’s a bit banged up and hasn’t spoken to reporters over two days of practices in New York.

    Brown is projected at No. 4 in 2016 by DraftExpress.com behind Kentucky commit Skal Labissiere and LSU-bound Ben Simmons.


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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.

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