New Jersey forward Phillip Wheeler forgoes senior year in high school to sign in Italy | 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 / November 22.
  • New Jersey forward Phillip Wheeler forgoes senior year in high school to sign in Italy

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Phillip Wheeler, a 6-foot-7 forward from New Jersey who helped the Ranney (N.J.) School win the New Jersey Tournament of Champions in March, will forego his senior year of high school to play for a youth team in Italy.

    Wheeler had just agreed to transfer to The Patrick School in Hillside, N.J., sources said, when his mother notified the school he would be going to Italy instead.

    Wheeler has signed with Stella Azzurra Basketball Academy in Rome, his agent, Mario Scotti, confirmed Wednesday by phone from Italy. Scotti declined to name any terms. Stella Azzurra plays in Italy’s Serie B, or third tier.

    “He’s not going to be able to play college at all, but it’s a pro contract,” Scotti said.

    Wheeler, 17, holds offers from Seton Hall, St. John’s and Providence. One source described him as a “high-ceiling player who needs work on his grades.”

    Scotti said Wheeler planned to play in Italy for some time and then try to enter the NBA Draft down the road.

    “Yes,” he said, “that’s the plan.”

    Of a possible pro future in the U.S., Scotti said, “There’s different ways to reach the same goal.”

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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.