October 2016 | Page 7 of 22 | Zagsblog
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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.
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Sunday / September 20.
  • GREENBURGH, N.Y. — When his good friend LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers receive their NBA championship rings during a ceremony Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena, Carmelo Anthony knows what emotions will be running through his body.

    “I mean, wishing that that was me,” Anthony said on the eve of the Knicks’ season opener. “I think all type of emotions kind of go through you when you seeing that, and especially on somebody else’s court. But we’ll get over that, I’ll get over that quick. Once it’s time to go, it’s time to go. You’re not really thinking about that.”

    The Knicks haven’t won an NBA title since 1973. Anthony, 32, has never won one.

    And as long as James resides in the Eastern Conference, Anthony’s path to an NBA title will likely go through the “Chosen One.”

    Deng Gak was initially hoping to make a college decision today (Monday), but after tripping to Florida and Kansas in recent days he decided to hold off.

    “I’m still deciding whether I’m going to decide early or late,” he said Monday by phone. “My timetable to decide was today [Monday] but I don’t think I’m going to. I think I’m going to wait a little bit.”

    The 6-foot-10 big man from Blair (N.J.) Academy and the PSA Cardinals took his official visit to Kansas over the weekend along with Norman (OK) North point guard Trae Young. Freshman big man Udoka Azubuike was Gak’s host.

    “Kansas was great,” Gak said. “All the players were real cool. The community there is great. I had fun.”

    Kansas has produced a ton of talented bigs over the years, and Gak could follow in their footsteps.

    KINGSTON, R.I. — It was March 10 and Rhode Island’s season had just come to a close at the hands of UMass in the Atlantic-10 Tournament at Barclays Center.

    Fed up and frustrated, Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley was seriously considering walking into his locker room and telling his players he was leaving to take the head coaching job at Rutgers. The State University of New Jersey had offered Hurley, a member of New Jersey’s first family of basketball, a seven-year deal worth $2.3 million annually, significantly more than he was making at Rhode Island.

    The Rams’ future hung in the balance.

    But after chatting with assistant coach Jimmy Carr, Hurley kept his emotions in check and never made that statement to his team. Within a week, he had decided to remain at Rhode Island instead of attempting his third rebuild at Rutgers after having already turned around Wagner and Rhode Island.

    “If everyone’s back and healthy, we have the best roster in the league,” an upbeat Hurley said of the Rams that week on his radio show.

    NEW YORK — Luther Muhammad had a big weekend for himself.

    The 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Hudson Catholic hit the game-winning jumper in the Nike IS8 semifinals and then went on to win the title alongside his high school teammate Jahvon Quinerly with the Northeast Basketball Club. Both players then represented New Jersey in the Sharette Dixon Classic Saturday night at the Gauchos Gym, where they lost to New York, 103-92.

    “It was great because that was my first time playing at IS8,” he said. “So my first time playing I get a championship in it, so that’s pretty good. I was happy about that.

    In the closest preseason poll in American Athletic Conference history, Cincinnati was tabbed as the favorite to win the 2016-17 American Athletic Conference men’s basketball regular-season title, in voting of the conference’s head coaches.

    Cincinnati senior guard Troy Caupain and Memphis sophomore Dedric Lawson were chosen as the American Athletic Conference Preseason Co-Players of the Year. For the fourth straight season, a UConn player was selected as The American’s Preseason Rookie of the Year, with Alterique Gilbert collecting honors this year.

    The Bearcats edged UConn as the preseason favorite with 95 points to the Huskies’ 94 in the balloting of the coaches, who could not vote for their own teams. Cincinnati received six first-place votes, while UConn claimed the other five.

    2016-17 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
    PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL
    Rank Team (First-Place Votes) Pts.
    1. Cincinnati (6) 95
    2. UConn (5) 94
    3. SMU 76
    4. Houston 75
    5. Memphis 63
    6. Temple 56
    7. East Carolina 39
    8. UCF 37
    9. Tulsa 34
    10. USF 25
    11. Tulane 11
    2016-17 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
    PRESEASON INDIVIDUAL HONORS
    Preseason Co-Players of the Year
    Troy Caupain, G, Sr., Cincinnati
    Dedric Lawson, G/F, So., Memphis
     
    Preseason Rookie of the Year
    Alterique Gilbert, G, Fr., UConn
     
    Preseason All-Conference Teams
    First Team
    Troy Caupain, G, Cincinnati*
    Gary Clark, F, Cincinnati*
    Dedric Lawson, G/F, Memphis
    Ben Moore, F, SMU
    Damyean Dotson, G, Houston
    Second Team
    Shake Milton, G, SMU
    Jalen Adams, G, UConn
    Jahmal McMurray, G, USF
    Rob Gray, Jr., G, Houston
    B.J. Tyson, G, East Carolina
    * unanimous selection

    Class of 2017 point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has cut his list to eight schools after decommitting from Florida.

    He is now considering Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, Florida, N.C. State, UNLV, Oklahoma and Texas, Dwayne Washington, Alexander’s coach with UPlay Canada told ZAGSBLOG.

    Kentucky is expected to watch Alexander on Monday, while Kansas is expected in Tuesday.

    A 6-foot-5 1/2 point guard from Chattanooga (TN) Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, Alexander averaged a team-high 15.8 points and 4.8 assists for Wings Elite on the Nike EYBL circuit this year.