June 2015 | Page 3 of 20 | Zagsblog
Recent Posts
About ZagsBlog
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.
Follow Zags on Twitter
Couldn't connect with Twitter
Contact Zags
Connect with Zags:
Thursday / November 30.
  • NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at St. JohnBy JOSH NEWMAN

    NEW YORK – Former St. John’s star Sir’Dominic Pointer saw his hard work culminate in the biggest moment of his basketball life Thursday night when the Cleveland Cavaliers made him the 53rd overall pick of the NBA Draft.

    “It was just an unbelievable feeling, you can’t even describe it, it’s just humbling,” Pointer told SNY.tv via phone. “It’s just an amazing feeling.”

    “We are pleased, but certainly not surprised that the Cavaliers organization recognizes Dom has the ability to add value to their team,” former St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin told SNY.tv. “Dom’s skill, versatility, basketball intellect and relentless competitive spirit make him a unique asset.”

    CIYG4ZAWUAAK802NEW YORKHeadlined by overall No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky saw four players chosen in the NBA Draft lottery and six taken overall Thursday night.

    That tied the record Kentucky set in 2012, when Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went 1-2.

    After Towns, center Willie Cauley-Stein went No. 6 to the Sacramento Kings; power forward Trey Lyles was chosen No. 12 by the Utah Jazz; and shooting guard Devin Booker was selected at No. 13 by the Phoenix Suns.

    “Six guys get drafted and tie a record, four lottery picks and another No. 1 pick – it’s been another unbelievable night,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “I’m proud of the guys. Our job as coaches is to help these kids realize their dreams. I’m so happy that a lot of lives were changed tonight. I’m disappointed that Aaron [Harrison] didn’t get drafted, but he will be fine. I will tell you that he will be on a summer league team and fighting for a position on an NBA team. My guess is he will be on an opening-season roster even though he wasn’t drafted.”

    Point guard Andrew Harrison was chosen at No. 44 by the Suns but dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies, according to Yahoo Sports. Center Dakari Johnson, a Brooklyn native, was then taken at No. 48 by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    Aaron Harrison was the lone Kentucky player to declare for the draft but go undrafted.

    “That just shows our team was special,” Lyles told reporters, referring to a team that won its first 38 games before losing to Wisconsin in the national semifinals. “Like none other.”

    CIYlWCkWsAAcINgNEW YORK — The inevitable became reality Thursday night when the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft at Barclays Center.

    The 7-foot-Towns had long been projected as the No. 1 pick, and SNY.tv first reported on Monday that the Wolves had informed the Piscataway, N.J., native that they would pick him first.

    Towns celebrated with Kentucky head coach John Calipari, agent Leon Rose and some 40 family and friends, including his parents, Karl and Jackie.

    “For me, I’m just blessed to be in this opportunity to just show that a boy from Piscataway, New Jersey, can  [the] Dominican Republic can make it,” said Towns, whose locker will be next to Kevin Garnett’s in the Wolves’ locker room. “I’m blessed to be in this situation, to be in this seat talking to all of you. It just means the world that I’m going to be able to show kids around the world that with a little hard work, determination, a little bit of luck and some guidance, you can really make it far in this world.”

    Point guard D’Angelo Russell of Ohio State went No. to the Lakers; center Jahlil Okafor was selected No. 3 by the Philadelphia 76ers; the Knicks took 7-foot-2 Latvian Kristaps Porzingis at No. 4; small forward Mario Hezonja of Croation; Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein went No. 6 to the Sacramento Kings.

    headshot_1_HopkinsSyracuse finally did the right thing and announced that assistant coach Mike Hopkins is the head coach-designate and will succeed Coach Jim Boeheim following the 2017-18 men’s basketball season. In March, Boeheim announced that he will retire in three years.

    “For more than 25 years, Mike Hopkins has demonstrated the true meaning of Orange pride and loyalty,” said Chancellor Kent Syverud. “He has contributed so much to the success of the Syracuse basketball program. I know Mike is ready to lead the program into the future and carry forward the success that has occurred under Coach Boeheim.”

    Hopkins has been on staff for 19 years, helping Syracuse advance to 14 NCAA tournaments and four NIT berths. The Orange won the NCAA Championship in 2003.

    “I’m honored, humbled and grateful for this special opportunity,” says Hopkins. “Very few people are afforded the privilege to coach at their alma mater. I want to thank Chancellor Syverud, the Board of Trustees and Jim Boeheim for entrusting me with this great program. Coach Boeheim has created one of the most preeminent college basketball programs in the country, one that is committed to a standard of excellence and consistency.”

    Jamal Murray action 2NEW YORK — If John Calipari truly wants to replace the platoon system at Kentucky with “positionless basketball,” he now has the perfect opportunity to do so with three interchangeable guards in 6-foot-5 Jamal Murray, 5-9 Tyler Ulis and 6-3 Isaiah Briscoe.

    The trio could play as a dangerous three-guard set and can also play in multiple permutations with one of them running the point and one or two off the ball. And oh by the way, Kentucky also has 6-6 shooting guard Charles Matthews joining the program, too.

    “We teach positionless basketball. It’s not one way of playing, it’s a lot of ways of playing,” Calipari said earlier this month in a conference call. “It’s not just ‘make the league.’ I want them to be all-stars.”

    Murray, who reclassed to 2015 and committed to Kentucky on Wednesday, is one of the best point guards — if not the best — on the planet not currently in the NBA. Now he will almost certainly spend some time off the ball and on the wing.

    “Jamal is one of the best guards in the country,” Calipari said. “He showed that in practice at the Nike Hoop Summit and in the game. I had so many people call me to tell me how unbelievable he was. You’re talking about a 6-5 playmaker that can score and can guard multiple positions. He can make an impact from anywhere on the floor. I can’t wait to start coaching him.”

    The Jamal Murray Sweepstakes are over and Kentucky is the big winner.

    The 6-foot-5 Murray out of Orangeville Prep (Ontario) was down to two schools — Oregon and Kentucky — and made his announcement Wednesday night on Canada’s TSN.

    Murray has officially reclassified to 2015 and will be a Wildcat next season, joining a loaded backcourt that will include fellow point guards Tyler Ulis and Isaiah Briscoe.

    “I will be attending University of Kentucky,” Murray said as he unveiled a blue UK shirt and a white Kentucky baseball cap.

    “At first it was just distance. I’ll be able to stay a little bit closer to my parents. After I looked at the history of Kentucky and how many players they got to the next level, it just made me want to go there even more and set my mind to one year of just hard work and dedication to the game.”

    NCAA Basketball: St. John at DePaulBy JOSH NEWMAN

    Another major piece of the Steve Lavin era at St. John’s is gone.

    Nineteen days after it was announced that Rysheed Jordan will pursue a professional career, St. John’s announced Wednesday afternoon that senior shot-blocking specialist Chris Obekpa will transfer for his final season of eligibility.

    “It was a great three years of growing here at St. John’s,” Obekpa said in a statement. “I am forever grateful for the friends and family I have met during my time here. Much gratitude goes out to my coaches, teammates, professors and administrators for all of their love and support over the past three years.”

    “We respect Chris’ decision and wish him well in his future endeavors,” St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin said in the statement.

    } });