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.
As High-Majors Swarm to Hudson Catholic, ‘Fab Five’ Framework Looks More Like a ‘Fantasy’
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Arizona head coach Sean Miller and assistant Book Richardson passed through Hudson Catholic High School this past week.
St. John’s coach Chris Mullin and assistant Matt Abdelmassih were there another day.
Assistants from Maryland, UConn and Louisville also attended open gyms, and the head coaches from those schools will likely follow.
With each day that passes, a new high-major program is drawn to the Jersey City program coached by Nick Mariniello primarily for its Class of 2018 “Big Three” of Louis King, Luther Muhammad and Jahvon Quinerly.
“The first day [coaches could watch recruits] there was about 10 coaches in here,” Quinerly told me on Wednesday. “It’s a good atmosphere for the young guys. I wish me coming in here as a freshman, we had 12 coaches on the sideline.”
And with each passing day the idea that those players — along with Sports U teammates Naz Reid and Atiba Taylor — will attend the same college looks more and more unrealistic.
It was a long shot to begin with, but Seton Hall deserves credit for first offering the so-called “Fab Five” last October.
“They want to try to get all five guys,” Sports U coach Brian Coleman told me when the offer was made. “They feel like if they could get these guys that play together to stay home, it would be great for their state, it would be great for their team because they’d have a group of guys that are familiar with each other and they’re kind of looking at them as kind of like the next Michigan Fab Five.”
Rutgers, which somehow never made the group offer under former coach Eddie Jordan (asleep at the wheel, anyone?), finally made the “Fab Five” offer in April under new coach Steve Pikiell, whose staff is now out covering New Jersey like a cozy winter blanket.
UConn also jumped in on the group offer, and why not?
No school was ever likely to land all five players, but hey, who knows? Maybe one of them could get two or three.
And what a haul that would be.
ESPN ranks the 6-foot-10 Reid the No. 10 player in the Class of 2018, with the 6-8 King at No. 30 and the 6-1 Quinerly at No. 38. All three guys played in the Under Armour Elite 24 Game last month. (Muhammad and Taylor are unranked.)
It’s still possible that the group could go to school together, Reid told me last month.
“It actually can because we’re brothers on and off the court and going through anything we’re always going to be together,” he said, “we’re always going to be there for each other.”
Still, all you have to do is look at what’s going on at Hudson Catholic to see that these guys will have plenty of schools pulling them in different directions.
Quinerly impressed onlookers — and ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla — at the Elite 24, and Kansas soon offered the heady point guard.
“[Assistant coach] Norm [Roberts] called me about a week ago, we chopped it up,” Quinerly said.
Then this past week, Arizona’s Miller and Richardson and Maryland’s Bino Ransom were among those meeting with Quinerly. Maryland has offered (as first reported by Pat Lawless), while Arizona told him they will keep tabs on him.
“[Arizona] said they’re highly interested in me,” said Quinerly, who has heard about “Point Guard U.” “They just asked me how I like the West Coast a little me and told me that they want me to be their next point guard.
“It made me want to work harder, and I’m just blessed.”
Quinerly will visit Ohio State unofficially Oct. 1 for the football game with Rutgers.
“[They had] D’Angelo Russell] and it’s also a guard school, so I’m looking forward to that,” he said.
He also wants to visit Stanford.
“It’s a great experience, I got a lot of schools calling me,” Quinerly said.
As for King, he may have the highest upside of any player in the group.
A smooth athlete who makes it look effortless, King can shoot from deep, score in transition and near the basket.
Louisville and UConn were among the schools watching him this past week.
“Louisville, they recently offered me,” King said. “Coach [Rick] Pitino is going to be here in like two weeks or so.”
King also plans to visit UConn soon.
He already visited Maryland and plans to visit again soon for a football game.
“It was a great school,” he said. “Coach Bino showed me the campus and I met with Coach [Mark] Turgeon, they’re great people.”
Meantime, St. John’s is heavily recruiting Muhammad, whom they see as a potential big Big East guard.
Down at Roselle Catholic, St. John’s and Rutgers were in early to see the 6-10 Reid, who also holds offers from places like Kansas, Syracuse and UConn, with interest from Kentucky.
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.