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.
ELIZABETH, N.J. — It was approaching 2:30 on Wednesday afternoon and a group of high-major Division 1 assistant basketball coaches began assembling on the gym floor of the Mickey Walker Center, where the basketball team from The Patrick School was about to run an open gym on an unusually hot September day.
Indiana assistant Chuck Martin, Georgetown assistant Kevin Broadus, Arizona assistant Book Richardson and Boston College assistant Scott Spinelli, along with Hofstra head coach Joe Mihalich, all came to devote an hour and a half to watching the loaded team from the school everybody knows as St. Patrick.
Most of the coaches came especially to watch one young man: 6-foot-11, 235-pound junior center Nick Richards, ranked the No. 2 big man nationally in the Class of 2017 by 247Sports.com.
The soft-spoken native of St. Andrew’s, Jamaica who now lives in Queens, N.Y., has only been playing organized basketball for three years, but may top out at over 7 feet.
“I’m having growing pains right now so [I will] probably [grow] an inch or two,” he said.
De’Aaron Fox, the No. 1 point guard in the Class of 2016, had a home visit Monday night with Kentucky coach John Calipari ahead of his official visit to campus next month.
“[Calipari] just let him know it’s OK to dream big,” Cypress Lakes (TX) coach Emmanuel Olatunbosun told SNY.tv. “He told him he would play with other players that have the same goal as his, and it could be reached playing for him.
“He didn’t promise him anything but told him he would be a great fit for what they are about.”
The 6-foot-4 Fox, who has drawn comparisons to former Calipari guard John Wall,visited LSU last weekend and has officials scheduled for Louisville (Sept. 25-27), Kansas (Oct. 9-11), Kentucky (Oct. 16-18) and Arizona (Nov. 6-8).
ELIZABETH, N.J. — With his last official visit coming up this weekend to Miami, Bryce Aiken is coming close to a college decision.
The 5-foot-11 point guard from the PSA Cardinals and St. Patrick’s High School plans to make his decision within a couple of weeks after the Miami trip.
“I have one more visit, going down to Miami this weekend,” Aiken told me Wednesday at a St. Pat’s open gym that featured coaches from Arizona, Georgetown, Indiana, Boston College and Hofstra. “So far I’ve been to Harvard and Seton Hall, and this is my last visit coming up. So after that I’ll discuss it with my family and with those people I have a lot of trust in and I’ll make my decision after that.
“I want to make my decision within two weeks of the last visit.”