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.
MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Villanova head coach Jay Wright expects a resolution on the Omari Spellman situation by early October.
“We’re in the appeal process so he’s cleared to be on scholarship, cleared to practice,” Wright told me Friday morning at Montclair Immaculate High School where the GardenStateHoops.com Coaches Clinic benefitted the Paterson Girls Basketball League. “The competition part of it, we’re waiting. By early October the latest, we should have an answer on whether he can play in games this year.”
Reigning NCAA champion Villanova announced last month that they were working with the NCAA to complete the eligibility certification process for the 6-foot-9, 268-pound Spellman, who was expected to be one of the top freshmen in the nation. He was not eligible for the team’s trip to Spain last month.
“The worst-case scenario would be he couldn’t play in games and it would be like an academic red-shirt year,” Wright said. “That would be the worst-case scenario. The best-case scenario is he plays, plays right away. He’s been practicing, he’s good to go, so it’s not affecting him right now.”
Here’s a look towards this weekend’s recruiting visits and other news. This post will updated throughout the weekend:
**P.J. Washington, the 6-foot-7 power forward from Team Penny and Findlay (NV) Prep, takes his first official visit to Kentucky this weekend. He is also slated to visit UNC next weekend, along with Arizona and Texas next month. Washington is down to eight schools: UCLA, Arizona, N.C. State, Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, UNLV and UNC.
**Tremont Waters, the 5-11 point guard from Notre Dame (CT), will visit Kentucky this weekend along with Washington, before hitting Indiana and Kansas the following two weekends. He’s also considering Georgetown and Yale, among others.
**Matt Coleman, the 6 foot, 170-pound point guard from Oak Hill (VA), will take his first official visit to Duke this weekend. He will also visit Stanford (Sept. 30), Kansas (Oct. 15), Syracuse (Oct. 22), and Texas (Oct. 29). Coleman named his final five earlier this week.
TINTON FALLS, N.J. — Up until last year, the plush and sprawling Ranney School here in Monmouth County wasn’t on anybody’s radar as far as New Jersey high school athletics.
Put it this way: I’ve covered sports in New Jersey for close to 20 years and I had never been to the school before Thursday night. Never even heard of the place until last year.
But pretty soon everybody in the New Jersey basketball world — and maybe the national prep scene — will know about this place because of two sophomore basketball players named Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis.
They are the reason Kentucky head coach John Calipari, St. John’s coach Chris Mullin, Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell and assistants from Villanova, Georgetown and Seton Hall were seated in the school’s gym for an open workout Thursday night.
On top of Calipari, Minnesota assistant Kimani Young was in the house for the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Harris, who runs with the NJ Playaz AAU program on the Nike EYBL circuit. Head coach Richard Pitino is also expected to come see him next week.
HILLSIDE, N.J. — John Calipari has enjoyed great recruiting success in the state of New Jersey in recent years, landing Isaiah Briscoe, Karl-Anthony Towns, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Dakari Johnson during his time at Kentucky.
Now the Kentucky coach is laser-focused on 6-foot-11 big man Nick Richards, who plays at St. Patrick’s, the New Jersey power that produced both Kidd-Gilchrist and Johnson as well as current NBA champion Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
On Thursday afternoon, before heading to enjoy the Jersey Shore for a few days, Calipari was at St. Pat’s along with assistant Tony Barbee to meet with Richards and his family, a visit first reported by SNY.tv.
“When he comes into the building, everything comes to a standstill,” St. Pat’s coach Chris Chavannes said. “The faculty, everything comes to a standstill. It’s huge when he comes by here. It’s great for the kids to see him, and it’s great for the young kids to see him. He definitely did stop traffic inside the building and outside the building.”