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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 / February 20.
  • Kentucky officially announced the signing of four of the nation’s top players during the early fall signing period. Highly rated prospects Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Quade Green, Nick Richards and P.J. Washington have all inked national letters of intent with UK.

    All four players are consensus four- or five-star prospects and all are ranked in the top 50 by the major national recruiting services.

    “I’m excited about the beginning of this,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “I’m excited about these kids. Each one of them, just like the guys on this current team, they’re great kids. They’re sharers. They’re going to be servant leaders to each other. They’re going to be great teammates. They understand they’re coming here because they want to be the best version of themselves. They’re not worried about being better than another guy on this team. They’re worried about, ‘How can I be my best?’ If you think about it, none of these players are like one another. They’re all different. Just be the best version of yourself. Come here, get better and let’s do this.”

    In every season in the Calipari era, the Wildcats have signed either the nation’s No. 1 or No. 2 recruiting class. UK looks to continue that streak with the latest additions of Gilgeous-Alexander, Green, Richards and Washington.

    “The 2017 class is starting to shape up,” Calipari said. “We’re not done yet because we’re going to lose three seniors and four or five underclassmen from this team, so we’re still going to have to really round this class out, but the start of this class – wow! I’m feeling very comfortable that I can now worry about coaching that team on the floor knowing that we need to sign a couple more guys.”

    By DENNIS CHAMBERS & ADAM ZAGORIA

    PHILADELPHIA — Now that Quade Green is headed to Kentucky, he wants to bring his friends with him.

    After committing to the Wildcats on Saturday night at Neumann Goretti High School, Green said he now has his sights set on adding Mohamed Bamba, Hamidou Diallo and Kevin Knox to another emerging star-studded class at Kentucky.

    In what proved to be a very shrewd move (that other schools apparently did not take advantage of) Kentucky left tickets on Tuesday for the Champions Classic at  Madison Square Garden for Green, Bamba and other recruits.

    UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Until Saturday, Rhode Island was simply a talented team with a number next to its name.

    Now it has a Top-25 win and and a golden opportunity to knock off the No. 1 team in the nation on Sunday afternoon in Mohegan Sun Arena.

    “As far as playing Duke, I think that’s what every team looks forward to,” senior guard E.C. Matthews said after scoring 14 of his team-high 18 points in the second half as Rhode Island roared back from a 12-point first-half deficit to take down No. 24 Cincinnati, 76-71, in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off.

    “We know [Duke’s] history and the coach they have, so it’s going to be an opportunity for us and we’re going to be excited to play,” Matthews added.

    It was only the second top-25 win since Dan Hurley became the head coach at Rhode Island, and it came with his father, Naismith Hall of Fame St. Anthony’s coach Bob Hurley Sr., sitting courtside.

    Kuran Iverson had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Rhode Island, and Jared Terrell and Hassan Martin scored 14 apiece.

    Jacob Evans led Cincinnati with 25 points and 6 rebounds, and Kyle Washington went for 23 and 10.

    Duke advanced with a 78-68 win over Penn State in the first game, but both Duke and Rhode Island sustained injuries to key players.

    UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Duke sophomore big man Chase Jeter suffered a left ankle injury during No. 1 Duke’s 78-68 win over Penn State at the Mohegan Sun Arena and coach Mike Krzyzewski said he was “doubtful” for Sunday’s championship game against No. 21 Rhode Island in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off.

    “Chase, we gotta see,” Krzyzewski said. “I don’t know enough right now. He was walking, he just couldn’t push off of it. If he can play, he’ll play. But right now I would say doubtful.”

    He added: “We’re banged up more than any team I’ve ever coached.”

    Early in the first half, Jeter collided with Penn State’s Mike Watkins under the Penn State basket and lay on the floor writhing in pain, clutching his ankle before play eventually stopped. After being attended to by trainers, he was helped off the court as he hopped on his right leg. Jeter later returned to the bench with about 6 minutes remaining in the first half.

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