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Saturday / July 2.
  • Mustapha Heron Hearing From Four Schools the Most

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    4_3560960By MATT JESSEN-HOWARD

    INDIANAPOLIS – Last year, Sacred Heart (CT) wing Mustapha Heron made a name for himself in the Under Armour Association, averaging 16.8 points and 4.6 rebounds for a successful New Heights 17U team.

    This year, the unanimous top 25 player decided to shake things up, and take his talents to the Adidas Gauntlet. Through two sessions, he’s averaging 17.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.9 assists for the NY Rens.

    “I made the switch from the Under Armour circuit to Gauntlet just to see what else was out there,” he told SNY.tv this past weekend. “There’s a lot of talent, and I just want to play against everyone. The Under Armour Association was great, but I just wanted to try something different. I like the Rens and I’m looking forward to the season. I’ll have the opportunity to play against a new set of players and maybe be seen by some more coaches.”

    4_3560958On Saturday morning, when the Rens played Team Loaded Virginia, the 6-foot-5 Heron impressed with his ability to score on all three levels, but even more so because of his on-ball defense. In the close game, Heron really looked for his own shot and attacked the basket down the stretch.

    “I’d say I’m very versatile and that I can play a lot of positions or take on several roles,” he said. “I can shoot from three or get to the hoop, and I can guard multiple positions and defend.”

    Rens director Andy Borman says Heron and teammate Rawle Alkins are both McDonald’s All-American Game candidates.

    “Mustapha is a big-bodied, hyper-athletic smooth guard,” Borman told SNY.tv Monday on The 4 Quarters Podcast. “Rawle is more like a Dominique Wilkins and Mustapha’s more like a Clyde Drexler, just power vs. smoothness.”

    Some 50-75 coaches watched every Rens game, including Kentucky’s John Calipari, Kansas’ Bill Self, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Texas’ Shaka Smart, UConn’s Kevin Ollie, St. John’s Chris Mullin and Michigan’s John Beilein, among others.

    “We saw everybody,” Borman said.

    Mullin has honeymooned around the East Coast, and has already made an impression on Heron and Alkins. (For more on Alkins, read this.)

    14_3560959“I’ve talked to St. John’s a lot,” Heron said. “Chris Mullin is in the Hall of Fame, so you know you have to have a lot of respect for him and what he’s done right away. He could definitely take my game to the next level, and he’s a great person as well. He could make me a better person and better man, which is also what I’m looking for. I love the support and would have a great support system at St. John’s.

    “I’m not at all worried about him not having coached before. I just think that he’d be a player’s coach. You know he was a lefty, too, and he could help me with a lot of the little things, just like angles, and when to attack and things like that.”

    Heron reported that he was hearing the most from Cincinnati, UConn, St. John’s, and UCLA. He sees a lot of similarities in the schools. For example, he noted that UCLA and St. John’s recruiting process seems to have many parallels and that UConn’s Ollie would also be a player’s coach and has played in the NBA.

    “I just need to take time and make the best decision for me,” Heron said. “After committing to Pitt so early, I think I learned that I need to have a broad look and take time looking at all these schools.”

    When it does come time to make a decision, Heron has several things he’ll keep in the back of his mind.

    “I’ll be looking at how the coaches develop the players and the coaching staff that they have,” he said. “Things like academics and campus life, just the feel of the place, will also be important I think.Ideally, I’d also go to a program that really fits how I play: lots of man-to-man and an uptempo style.”

     

    Photo: 247Sports.com

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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.