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.
Bryan Antoine approaching college decision ‘soon,’ says Duke, Villanova among schools working the hardest
By ADAM ZAGORIAINDIANAPOLIS — Bryan Antoine had quite a day for himself on Saturday at the Under Armour Association stop here.
With Team Rio trailing Team Breakdown by 17 points in the third quarter, the 6-foot-5 Antoine keyed a remarkable comeback by hitting a three-pointer to tie the game with 20 seconds left in regulation and then draining two clutch free throws in overtime to ice the 74-71 win. Antoine’s effort came with Villanova head man Jay Wright and assistants from Duke, Kentucky, Florida and St. John’s among those watching.
After the win, Antoine said he envisions issuing his list “sometime after this session” and making a college decision “kind of soon,” but added it likely won’t be until “September or October, sometime before the school season.”
“I’ve had a talk with my coaches, my mom and dad, so every day we always talk about the same thing, so I feel as though I’m kind of ready and kind of able to make that decision kind of soon,” Antoine, ranked No. 7 in the 2019 ESPN 60, said after going for 21 points and 7 rebounds in the win.
Duke, Villanova, Kentucky, Florida, Kansas and Rutgers are among those in the mix for Antoine.
VillanovaWright, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Florida’s Mike White watched Antoine and teammate Scottie Lewis last weekend at the Under Armour stop in Dallas.
All four schools recently had home visits with the Ranney (N.J.) stars and figure to get official visits this fall. As reported here, Antoine and Lewis look to take officials this fall and decide by November.
“All in-home visits, those all went pretty good,” Antoine said Saturday. “They were all kind of like the same thing. It’s all even.”
Duke is heavily in the mix for Antoine, and he said Coach K said they see him as their “key guy in the Class of ’19.”
“They’ve been recruiting me the hardest since last summer when I got the offer,” Antoine said of Duke.
He later added: “They are recruiting me the hardest, but they’re not the only school recruiting me the hardest.”
He did say he’s “very close” with Duke assistant Jon Scheyer and that Scheyer communicated to him after Duke offered that he was their top priority in 2019.
“We talk every day,” he said. “Coach K I talk to from time to time. After our in-house visit, my relationship with Coach K grew more. He’s kind of texting me more. After [AAU] sessions, he’ll tell me what I have to work on and stuff…That in-house visit was the first time I got to sit down and talk with him. He was very excited to see me and I was very excited to see him. Just seeing each other for the first time just kind of sparked that I guess.”
Antoine said Duke is also focusing on Cole Anthony, Vernon Carey, Wendell Moore and Lewis to join commit Joey Baker in the 2019 class.
“Most of those guys, I’ve played with at all-star camps and stuff like that so hopefully when I go to college I’ll see if I want to go to the same school,” he said.
As for Duke itself, Antoine said, “I just like the stuff off the court. People who graduated from Duke 10-15 years ago still show love. People like Grant Hill, people who graduated from there, they still take pride in saying they went to Duke. Just having that name, you graduated from Duke, you went to Duke, that’s pretty much amazing.”
Villanova, meantime, is another strong suitor for both Antoine and Lewis. The reigning NCAA champs are also involved for elite Class of 2019 guys Anthony, who runs with the PSA Cardinals on the Nike EYBL circuit, and Nico Mannion and Josh Green of West Coast Elite on the Under Armour circuit.
“Villanova is only like an hour and 45 [minutes] from my house so it’s kind of like the home school,” Antoine said. “In the past three years they’ve won two national championships, there’s no other place you can do that at home. You can go in there and win a national championship.”
He added: “For any 18-, 17-year-old, to come into one school and be that guy and be able to make it to the national championship, that’s pretty amazing.”
Duke has produced a slew of one-and-dones in recent years, while Villanova hasn’t produced one since Tim Thomas in 1997. Still, Antoine says that’s not an issue for him.
“It really doesn’t matter if the school produces one-and-dones or not,” he said. “I mean, if you have the talent and you work hard, you can go.”
Indeed, Villanova is involved for several players who could be one-and-dones in the 2020 NBA Draft, which might be the first since 2005 to admit high school players. Antoine, Lewis and Anthony are all projected on at least one 2020 mock.
“Villanova’s not known for having one-and-dones, but it’s always a one-time thing where one player comes in and breaks that,” Antoine said.
Antoine also said he talks to Rutgers a lot because it’s like “30 minutes from home” and that his best friend, Zach Harvey, lives in Kansas and attended Kansas’ “Late Night in the Phog.”
“Coach [Norm] Roberts always text pictures and stuff and I watched Kansas in the [NCAA] Tournament,” Antoine said.
While Antoine is focusing on a smaller number of schools, Lewis is still more wide open. His most recent list includes a dozen schools, including Duke, Kentucky, Florida, Villanova, St. John’s, Harvard and others.
Still, Antoine thinks they could still wind up going to school together.
“Yeah, me and scottie been talking out that for a while now, so that’s still in consideration,” he said. “I feel as though whenever he feels it’s time for him to commit, he’ll commit. When I feel it’s the right time to commit, I will.”
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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.