November 2016 | Page 22 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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Tuesday / November 12.
  • Arizona, the preseason No. 10 team in the AP Poll, appears to be in disarray and the season doesn’t officially start for more than a week.

    Redshirt freshman forward Ray Smith, who has already suffered two ACL tears, was injured again on Tuesday during an 86-35 exhibition win over College of Idaho. Sophomore guard Allonzo Trier sat on the bench amid rumors of his uncertain future and sophomore center Chance Comanche was suspended for academic reasons.

    “We don’t really know exactly what happened,” head coach Sean Miller said of Smith, according to the Daily Star. “Certainly it didn’t look good. We’ll know more in the next couple of days but this this was the first time he’s been out there since both Red-Blue games and it was exciting .to see him out there for the first time. With that, to me, that trumps everything else tonight.”

    PISCATAWAY, N.J. — New Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said the basketball team was in “awful shape” physically when he took over for Eddie Jordan last spring.

    And none of his players disagreed.

    “We probably were one of the worst-conditioned teams he’s ever had,” Rutgers sophomore guard Corey Sanders said at Tuesday’s Media Day.

    Jordan went 29-68 in three seasons at Rutgers, including a 7-25 campaign last season in which the Scarlet Knights finished 1-17 in the Big Ten. His alma mater fired him in March, and then hired Pikiell as his replacement out of Stony Brook.

    Pikiell, in turn, brought in David VanDyke as his strength and conditioning coach after VanDyke had spent the previous 11 years at Stony Brook.

    Darryl Morsell, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound combo guard from Baltimore (MD) Mount Saint Joseph and the Team Melo AAU Program, will announce his college choice on Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. at his high school, he told ZAGSBLOG.

    Morsell recently said he’s still considering Dayton among his top three, but all signs point to him focusing on his other two schools, Notre Dame and Maryland. He previously cut Villanova and Virginia Tech from his top five.

    Notre Dame coach Mike Brey had a home visit with Morsell recently.

    PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Rutgers’ new Athletic Performance Center is projected to be finished in the summer of 2019, which works out well on the recruiting front considering New Jersey is loaded with high-profile basketball recruits in the Classes of 2018 and ’19.

    Could the RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center actually help sway someone like Naz Reid, the 6-foot-9 Class of 2018 forward from Roselle Catholic, to pick Rutgers over the likes of Kentucky, UConn or Syracuse? What about 2019 studs Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis of the Ranney School who are being recruited by those some heavyweights?

    It won’t be the deciding factor in recruiting for these blue-chippers, but it can’t hurt as Rutgers tries to keep up in the Big Ten arms race. The basketball teams will continue to play in the RAC, a cozy building that opened in 1977 and can provide a homecourt edge when it’s full and rockin’, but which only recently added air-conditioning.

    “It’s great to see Rutgers make the commitment to the basketball program with the new practice facility,” RC coach Dave Boff said of the new practice facility, which had its groundbreaking Tuesday as part of the University’s $100-million facilities campaign.