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.
Shakur Juiston, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward from Hutchinson (KS) Community College, picked up an offer from Kansas on Sunday and is expected to visit the Big 12 regular-season champion and top-ranked team in the nation, as first reported by ZAGSBLOG.
Kansas assistant Norm Roberts watched Juiston on Sunday when he had 10 points and 14 rebounds in a 78-54 win over Independence Community College.
“I appreciate it a lot, opportunities like that come very seldom,” Juiston said Monday by phone of the Kansas offer.
“Honestly, I feel honored by any offer. It’s not just because of the ranking [Kansas is No. 1] or that they came. I just see it as opportunities, not because they’re a top person.”
Juiston said Roberts told him that he could help “coach” big man Udoka Azubuike, who is out this season with an injury.
The former Paterson (N.J.) Eastside star is averaging 16.5 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks for national power Hutchinson (30-1). He was named the Most Valuable Player of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference.
Iowa State, Illinois, Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Arizona State, Rutgers, La Salle, UTEP, St. Joe’s, Ole Miss and DePaul are also involved. Juiston will have two years of eligibility wherever he lands.
“One of the schools that’s really recruiting me the hardest is Iowa State,” Juiston said. “[Coach Steve Prohm] has been showing a lot of commitment on trying to get me so I appreciate that a lot.
“They’re just going to use me like they use all their forwards. Their system is four out and one in, so they just say that I could fit into their system. I saw a couple of their games and I could see myself fitting in. They have versatile forwards.”
Juiston said he’s wide open, though.
“Right now, I’m considering everybody,” he said. “I told all the coaches I’m just mainly focusing on my season. I won’t be taking any visits or committing until after my season. As soon as the season’s over, make sure my school is doing well, then narrow some of my schools down and just go from there.”
Whoever gets Juiston is getting a guy who averages a double-double.
“Shakur is a walking double-double,” Hutchinson assistant Jay Cyriac said. “He has an unbelievable motor and does everything you need to win. He won a lot of games for Paterson Eastside and at the Peach Jam with the NJ Playaz and was an important player last season as a freshman. He’s a tremendous athlete, and better kid.”
The Newark, N.J., native is playing this season as a tribute to his brother Shadir, who was shot and killed a few blocks from their New Jersey home on Jan. 21, 2011.
“He’s not like most of the kids today who need to put up their recruiting status on their social media,” said Playaz director Jimmy Salmon. “He’s old school, he just takes care of business. When he’s ready to announce, he will. He’s not interested in giving everybody a play-by-play.”
As for his skillset, Salmon said: “He’s an old-school basketball. He has exceptional IQ for the game and can defend the 2, 3 and the 4 effectively.”
Photo: The Hutchinson News
Follow Adam Zagoria on TwitterAnd like ZAGS on Facebook
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 and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.