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.
AVALON, N.J. — Longtime St. Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli believes the proposed changes in the NCAA recruiting calendar are a good first step toward fixing the problems that led to the FBI investigation of bribery in the sport and the arrest of 10 people, including four Division 1 assistant coaches, last fall.
And Martelli envisions an increased emphasis on high school events in June — such as camps, leagues and potentially combines — as college coaches get less access to sneaker-sponsored events in July.
“From a coach’s view, when that initial report came out, it wasn’t four coaches that were indicted, all coaches were indicted,” Martelli, who serves on the Subcommittee for Non-Scholastic Basketball and also on the Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee, told me at his basketball camp here. “Everybody looked like the problem. This is an attempt to say, ‘We have to fix it, we have to fix it.’
“We know that what happened can’t happen again,” Martelli added. “The [Rice] Commission was very clear. The Commission said there will be change or they’ll take over. So at least to this point in time the NCAA coaches have had a say in the change that was to come. Otherwise, we were going to be sitting on the side.”
The first time John Calipari saw Kahlil Whitney this summer was on July 14th at the Peach Invitational, the event that runs in Augusta, Ga., parallel to the Peach Jam.
It was about that time that Dajuan Wagner began raving to Calipari about Whitney, too.
Wagner, the former Camden (N.J.) High School star who played for Calipari at Memphis before becoming the No. 6 pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, couldn’t help but be impressed by Whitney, a hard-driving 6-foot-6 wing who, like Wagner, played his high school ball in the Garden State — at Roselle Catholic. Calipari was similarly impressed and soon began texting Roselle Catholic head coach Dave Boff to express his interest in Whitney.
Calipari fell in love quickly and Whitney became the fourth Roselle Catholic player ever to receive a Kentucky offer, following Tyler Roberson, Isaiah Briscoe and Naz Reid. Of that group, only Briscoe, now with the Orlando Magic, chose to play at Kentucky.