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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 / July 25.
  • Kentucky-Bound Nick Richards to Return Sunday for The Patrick School After Ejection (UPDATED)

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    The Patrick School (N.J.) will be without Kentucky-bound McDonald’s All-American big man Nick Richards for two games after he was ejected from Saturday night’s 42-38 victory over Union Catholic.

    Richards and Dayton-bound power forward Jordan Pierce were involved in an altercation and both players were ejected. Pierce grabbed Richards by the neck while the two battled for a rebound, Richards responded by taking a swing that didn’t connect, some pushing and shoving ensued and the two players had to be separated near midcourt.

     

    The 6-foot-11 Richards has to sit out two games, including Sunday’s 75-66 loss to Trevon Duval and IMG Academy at Roselle Catholic and Wednesday’s game against Plainfield which was originally slated for Tuesday.

    Richards is eligible to return to practice on Thursday and for next Sunday’s game against 7-foot-1 junior Moses Brown and Archbishop Molloy in the Primetime Shootout at Roselle Catholic.

    “My initial instinct in these situations is to come down very hard on my players,” Celtics co-coach Chris Chavannes said via email. “During the game, I did not see what transpired. Thus, when Nick came off the court, I ripped into him. However, after the game, I was able to review the film over and over, in slow motion, and I was frankly shocked. In a period of ten seconds, I saw Nick swiped in the face and then shortly after, Nick was grabbed by the back of his neck and pushed downward.  There is irrefutably clear evidence of this on a screenshot photo.”

    (This game also featured Union Catholic holding the ball for 7 1/2 minutes in the fourth quarter. New Jersey has no shot clock.)

    “It was a basketball play that led to a quick altercation between the two players, which happened in the first 20 seconds of the game,” Union Catholic coach Jim Reagan told NJ Advance Media. “It’s an extremely unfortunate incident and both players are out for the next two games.”

    The Celtics are the favorites to win the New Jersey Tournament of Champions title. The New Jersey state tournament begins Feb. 28 and the TOC final is set for March 20.

    Richards had been playing extremely well for the Celtics since being named a McDonald’s All-American last month. He went for 22 points and 10 rebounds in Thursday’s win over Naz Reid and Roselle Catholic at RC.

    “He’s been tremendous,” Patrick School assistant Ayton Branch said before the ejection. “I think being that he was able to accomplish one of the highest accomplishments for an elite high school player [the McDonald’s Game], he was able to get that weight off his shoulders, so he’s really been playing with a different speed. He’s really confident right now, so I’m extremely happy for him right now.”

    (Video via Matt Kipp from TAPinto)

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    Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.