Projected Lottery Pick Nassir Little Picks North Carolina | 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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Friday / July 12.
  • Projected Lottery Pick Nassir Little Picks North Carolina

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    Nassir Little, the 6-foot-7 small forward from Orlando Christian Prep and the Adidas-sponsored 1Family AAU team, committed to North Carolina over Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

    According to 247Sports, Little is ranked as the No. 9 overall player in the Class of 2018 and the No. 2 player from the state of Florida.

    Little will got his decision out of the way before he heads to a USA Basketball minicamp this weekend in Colorado Springs, Colo.

    Little is projected as the No. 7 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft (to the Knicks) by ESPN.com. He previously considered Arizona, Duke and Miami as well.

    “The kid has the potential to be a high lottery pick,” Darryl Hardin of 1Family told ZAGSBLOG. “He’s 6-7 and is a really good athlete that can really shoot the ball from deep and mid-range. He’s a high-percentage finisher around the rim and is versatile on defense. He can guard multiple spots well.”

    Jonathan Brad Augustine, the coach of Little and the 1 Family AAU program, was one of 10 men charged last Tuesday by federal authorities in the FBI investigation. Augustine is alleged to be part of a scheme to pay players’ families in exchange for those players going to certain universities sponsored by adidas.

    Little was not named in the federal indictment, but numerous media outlets have reported that Little appears to one of the players involved.

    “There are three names universally believed to be involved in receiving money, Louisville freshman Brian Bowen, Arizona five-star recruit Jahvon Quinerly of Hudson Catholic (N.J.) and uncommitted five-star Florida wing Nassir Little,” wrote Zach Braziller of the New York Post on Thursday. “Bowen reportedly has been suspended indefinitely by Louisville, and it seems likely he never will be eligible to play college basketball. Quinerly and Little are in danger of a similar fate, both tied to accepting bribes to attend a particular school, according to the federal reports.”

    There is a reference in the federal complaint that Arizona may have offered Little $150,000 to play for the Wildcats instead of Miami.

    “The federal complaint filed Tuesday that involved Adidas (relevant portions are attached to this post) says Adidas rep Merl Code told Adidas executive James Gatto that “University 4” was offering “Player 12” $150,000, suggesting that Adidas needed to match the offer in order to keep “Player 12” away from a rival school that is sponsored by a rival firm,” wrote the Arizona Daily Star. “A day later, the complaint said Code told Gatto that if “University 4” was willing to pay $150,000, then ‘that’s where the kid is going to go.'”

    Little’s family recently denied that the five-star basketball recruit or his family requested or was offered money to attend a school.

    “We would like to address the allegations against one of our families. The Little family did not ask for, nor were offered money by any institution or individual,” wrote 1Family in a statement denying any wrongdoing. “They were completely unaware of any of the alleged offenses that may have mentioned or contained their son’s name. There is not one single player in our program, nor family member of any player, that had any knowledge or discussion about payments being made in regards to making a college decision.

    “We stand by this 100% and will allow the truth to come out as this process unfolds,” wrote 1Family in the statement. “Any defamation or accusations made by media accusing any of our players participating in said behavior will be documented and addressed legally. Our loyalty and commitment are to the young men we are blessed to coach and to their families. We fully support them and are standing with them in this process.”

    Hardin backed up those comments “100 percent.”

    “Anyone that has spoken with the kid or his family understands they aren’t those type of people,” Hardin said. These are high-character people.”

    North Carolina coach Roy Williams told ESPN that Nike, which was not named in the federal complaint but reporteldy had members of its grassroots division subpeonaed by the FBI, has never helped him secure a player.

    “They’ve never helped me get any player, never insinuated, never done anything,” Williams told ESPN in an exclusive interview on Monday.

    “I’ve dealt with Nike and Jordan Brand since I came back here, but we never even discuss things like that,” he added. “So I know it’s foreign to me.”

     

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.

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