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.
Villanova’s Josh Hart and Duke’s Grayson Allen highlight the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 announced Tuesday.
Several universities feature multiple players on the list: Duke (Allen, Harry Giles, and Jayson Tatum), Kansas (Devonte’ Graham, Frank Mason III, and Josh Jackson), Kentucky (Edrice Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox, and Malik Monk) and Oregon (Chris Boucher, Dillon Brooks, and Tyler Dorsey) lead the honors with three candidates apiece, while Indiana, North Carolina, Villanova, Virginia, and Xavier each have two players each on the Preseason Top 50.
The trend of recognizing outstanding freshmen continues with seven named to the list: Adebayo, Fox, and Monk of Kentucky; Jarrett Allen of Texas; Miles Bridges of Michigan State; Markelle Fultz of Washington; Giles and Tatum of Duke; Jackson of Kansas; Lauri Markkanen of Arizona; Dennis Smith, Jr. of NC State.
NEW YORK –– St. John’s freshman Shamorie Ponds wasn’t about to let fellow guard Marcus LoVett hog all the attention.
After LoVett went for 19 points and seven assists in last Friday’s season opener against Bethune-Cookman, it was Ponds who opened eyes on Monday. The Brooklyn product dropped 21 points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds and four assists, leading St. John’s to a 77-61 win over Binghamton at Carnesecca Arena. The Johnnies are now 2-0 heading into Friday’s matchup at Minnesota in the Gavitt Tip-Off Games.
“We bring the best out in each other,” said Ponds, the former Brooklyn Thomas Jefferson star. “We’re the smallest guys on the floor but we have the biggest heart and the biggest voice.”
After a solid but uninspiring eight-point performance against Bethune-Cookman, Ponds came out of the gate firing on Monday, scoring seven of the Red Storm’s first 15 points through 10 minutes.
David Beatty , the 6-foot-4 combo guard from Philadelphia (PA) Imhotep Institute, committed to South Carolina on Monday.
The No. 7 combo guard in the Class of 2017 according to 247Sports.com, Beatty also considered Indiana, Georgetown and Maryland.
“Dave is a physical big guard with good athleticism,” Imhotep coach Andre Noble said. “Winning is very important to him. He’s a very coachable, smart player. I think as he continues to improve his shooting it’s going to be very hard for guys at next level to stay in front of him. He has very good court vision, too.”
“When he committed, then I basically switched over to Michigan State from Kentucky,” Bridges told Scout.com. “At first I thought Cassius was going to Michigan. When he went to Michigan State, it changed everything.
“I just started hanging with him when AAU started,” Bridges said about Winston. “But it feels like I’ve known Cassius for all my life. We connect like brothers.”