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.
Josh Jackson Explodes For 50 Against Team NYC in Big Strick Classic; Markelle Fultz Talks Louisville
By CHRIS RUSSELL
NEW YORK — In case you have been wondering how New York’s high school basketball talent would measure up against some of the nation’s best, Saturday night’s National Game at the Big Strick Classic provided an answer.
Team NYC, which featured some of the top players from the New York tri-state area, went down in defeat 159-137 to Team USA, in a game that is dedicated to the legendary street ball player John “Franchise” Strickland.
The talk of the night was none other than 2016 shooting guard Josh Jackson, who went on a tear offensively and finished with a Big Strick-record 50 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Billy Preston, a 6-8 power forward out of Dallas, added 28 points in the win.
“It’s my first time playing in this event and I really like it and I wish that I could play again,” said Jackson after the game. “I came out here and made the best of it.”
On the recruiting trail, the process is moving slow for Jackson, but this could change soon.
“Things are going slow in my recruiting process,” said the Big Strick Classic MVP. “I’m not leaning towards any schools right now but within a month or two, I will be ready to choose a school.”
When asked what schools were still in the running, Jackson replied with, “Villanova, Arizona, Maryland, Michigan State, Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, UNLV and UCLA.”
To land the prized recruit, the team of his choice must have:
“A great coach and a great environment. I want to play with great teammates and a coach that will push me and not kiss my butt.”
Jackson’s mother, Apples Jones,told SNY.tv. on Friday that he will take an unofficial visit to Maryland in the next two weeks and will likely take officials to Arizona and Kansas during the school year. She also said Kentucky was not involved.
“I’m not leaning towards any schools right now but within a month or two, I will be ready to choose a school,” Jackson said.
Coming fresh from his official visit to Louisville, shooting guard Markelle Fultz struggled to find his rhythm. The guard finished with only 2 points in the loss.
“Tonight wasn’t one of my best performances but I was glad to get my teammates involved,” Fultz told SNY.tv. after the game.
Fultz plans on taking visits to Arizona on Aug. 10-12 and Washington, although the date has not been set for the latter.
As for the Louisville visit, “Real good visit, I enjoyed it,” said Fultz. “The players made it really fun for me. Went to practice and got to hang out with them off the court, it was great.”
Fultz also spoke highly of head coach Rick Pitino and his staff.
“They teach their kids the right way,” said Fultz of the Louisville staff. “They practice hard and are good guys off the court too.”
When asked if state rival Kentucky was still in the mix, Fultz replied with,“Yes, they are still in the mix.”
Aside from Jackson’s outstanding performance, Team USA’s victory can also be accredited to Edrice “Bam” Adebayo’s efforts, who posted 24 points while dominating the interior the entire game. Adebayo also won the Dunk Contest before the game.
Gary Trent Jr, who is ranked as the No. 1 shooting guard in the 2017 class according to 247sports, scored 15 in the victory.
Team NYC was led by Myles Powell, who finished with 28 points, including 6-made threes. The South Kent (Conn.) guard also won the Big Strick Classic 3-point championship.
Mustapha Heron finished with 10 points. The 6-5 Heron currently lists St. John’s in his top five but has been receiving attention from Kentucky and Duke and said his list could change.
Fresh off an unofficial visit to UCLA, St. Benedict’s product Trevon Duval posted 20 points. Duval has been one of the top performers in the summer circuit as his stock has risen all the way to the top point guard in the 2017 class according to 247sports rankings. Duval and Powell were named MVPs for Team NYC.
Shamorie Ponds finished with 15 points, 4 rebounds and two assists. Ponds, who has been targeted by St. John’s head man Chris Mullin,plans to visit (officially) the Red Storm August 28-30. He also has September official lined up to Providence and Minnesota.
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.