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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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Thursday / August 6.
  • Sandro Mamukelashvili, a 6-foot-10, 222-pound power forward from Montverde (FL) Academy, committed to Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard on Thursday following an official visit to the school.

    He signed his National Letter of Intent, the school announced Monday.

    Assistant Grant Billmeier was the lead recruiter.

    Mamukelashvili also considered USC, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt among others.

    “We are very excited to welcome Sandro into the Seton Hall basketball family,” Willard said. “He is only 17, and yet he is a very skilled passer and ball handler, and he shoots very well for someone his size. It is clear he has been mentored by one of the more respected high school coaches in the country in Coach [Kevin] Boyle. We think he has a very high ceiling, and we are looking forward to coaching him and developing his potential.”

    Mamukelashvili, a three-star recruit according to 247Sports.com and Scout, played for a powerhouse Montverde Academy team that was the runner-up in the DICK’S High School National Championship tournament. Mamukelashvili was instrumental in helping the Eagles reach the final; he had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the quarterfinal win over Shadow Mountain, and he had 11 points and seven boards in the semifinal victory over Greensboro Day. Monteverde finished the season 26-5 and ranked No. 7 in the USA Today Super 25 national rankings.

    Born in New York City, Mamukelashvili grew up in the country of Georgia and went to high school in Italy before moving to Florida to attend Montverde. He speaks four languages, including English, Georgian, Russian and Italian.

    “The main part was the coaching staff,” he said by phone. “It feels like home. It’s like a family in the locker room. Everybody’s friends with everybody. The school loves the program and everybody likes basketball there.

    “I think I will be a great addition to that team.”

    Following a busy Tuesday in which 2017 point guard Trevon Duval visited campus and junior guard Grayson Allen announced he would return for his senior season, Duke assistant Jon Scheyer had an in-home visit Wednesday with 2017 guard Mark Smith.

    The family spoke with Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski by phone.

    “[They said] he’s a true 6-foot-5 point guard with great shooting guard abilities,” said Anthony Smith, the player’s father. “He has three-man abilities to finish at the rack and can handle like the small point guards.”

    Duke has Allen, Gary Trent Jr. and rising sophomore Frank Jackson in the fold for next season and is hopeful of adding Duval, too.

    Duke was also slated to have an in-home on Wednesday with Kevin Knox.

    The 6-foot-5 Smith, out of Edwardsville (IL), is ranked the No. 17 point guard in the Class of 2017 by 247Sports.com. He averaged 21.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 8.4 assists last season.

    Smith is also considering Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State, and will take an unofficial visit to Illinois Thursday.

    Kentucky coach John Calipari visited Smith several weeks ago and offered him a scholarship. They would like him to join a group of guards that includes Hamidou Diallo, Quade Green, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jermarl Baker.