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Rutgers landed its first pledge in the Class of 2017 on Friday when Geo Baker committed to coach Steve Pikiell and his staff.

The 6-foot-4 point guard from Proctor (MA) Academy also held offers from Kansas State, George Mason, Duquesne, Lehigh and several others.

Baker visited Rutgers in June.

"[The visit] was great," Baker told SNY.tv by phone then. "The campus was huge. There's like five campuses, so I got to see two of them. The gym was really big, the coaches were really positive."

Baker was especially impressed by the renovation plans for the RAC and the basketball facilities.

"I actually got to see the blueprints of the new practice facilities," he said. "There's going to be two courts, one for the boys' side, one for the girls' side. They're completely renovating the weight room. They're making it a lot bigger. They're going to have a whole new film room and it just looks great."

Baker said he was told the renovation is an "18-month process."

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Adam Zagoria and Josh Newman are back with another episode of The 4 Quarters Podcast. 

First up, UCLA assistant coach David Grace checks in to chat about the Bruins and recruiting. 

Then, Vin Pastore of the AAU program Mass Rivals joins the show to talk about Makai-Ashton Langford, Wabissa Bede, and Aaron Wheeler.

Later, Adam and Josh talk up USA Basketball, covering the U18 squad, as well as the fast start by the NBA stars on the National Team.

Rundown

1st Quarter: David Grace (01:15)
2nd Quarter: Vin Pastore (10:00)
3rd Quarter: USA U18s (17:15)
4th Quarter: USA National Team (21:05)


Coby White, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound combo guard from the Class of 2018 committed to North Carolina via Twitter on Thursday night.

"They have a great family atmosphere and it is close to my family." said White. "My parents really loved Coach [Roy] Williams after talking to him multiple times. We sat and talked. Then, I did some thinking on my own and I decided it was the best place for me."

White, who joins four-star point guard Rechon Black of Montverde (FL) Academy in UNC's 2017 recruiting class, took an unofficial visit to UNC last month.

"I'm excited to play in the Dean Dome, for a great coaching staff in a great atmosphere with great teammates." he said.

The No. 5 ranked player in the State of North Carolina, according to 247Sports, White held offers from schools such as Clemson, Tennessee, Wake Forest, among others.

"Coby is absolutely electric," his CP3 coach Andy Poplin told SNY.tv. "He is one of the fastest players with the ball you will ever see. End to end he is exciting to watch and fun to coach. He has unlimited upside."

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Troy Brown Jr., the 6-foot-6 guard, from Las Vegas (NV) Centennial, has cut his list to eight schools.

Brown is down to Alabama, Oregon, UNLV, Kansas, Ohio State, Arizona, Cal and Georgetown.

He currently has no official visits set up, Las Vegas Prospects coach Derek Thomas told SNY.tv.

When it comes time to making a decision, he's going to put a lot of stock in personal relationships.

"I would say building a one-on-one connection with the coach [is most important]," he said earlier this month. "That's huge for me, especially if I am going to play that point guard position. I need to know how he feels about everything and what he wants me to do."

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Makai Ashton-Langford will spend his final season of high school at prep powerhouse Brewster (N.H.) Academy.

The 6-foot-1 point guard is ranked No. 9 at his position by 247Sports.com and helped the Mass Rivals go 21-0 and win four tournaments in July, culminating with the Adidas Summer Championships last week in Las Vegas.

"Makai is a dynamic type of guard and he's elite on both ends of the floor," his AAU coach, Vin Pastore, said Wednesday on The 4 Quarters Podcast. "He can get by anybody on the offensive end but he can cover the best player on the other team on the defensive end. And that's what he did all summer. And that's difficult to do. He scores around the rim like no other guard in grassroots basketball.

"UConn and Louisville and Providence have worked very hard on him and he'll surely take visits to those three places."

At Brewster, he will join former St. Raymond's of the Bronx wing Sid Wilson, who reclassed to 2018; Class of 2017 wing Aaron Wheeler, a Stamford, Conn., native who formerly attended St. Andrew's School (R.I.) and is Ashton-Langford's Mass Rivals teammate; and fellow 2017s Thomas Allen (Garner Road High School) and Michael Okauru, (Ravenscroft School).

 

AUNDRE HYATT TO THE MILLER SCHOOL

Aundre Hyatt, a 6-6 Class of 2018 shooting guard, will reclass to the Class of 2019 and transfer to the Charlottesville (VA) Miller School from White Plains (N.Y.) Archbishop Stepinac.

"To improve my recruitment," Hyatt, who just turned 16, told SNY.tv.

Hyatt's stock has taken off recently as he has added offers from USC, VCU, UMass, St. Louis and South Florida.

"I just thought he needed an extra year of maturity to get stronger both mentally and physically," his mentor, Mike Mathews, told SNY.tv. "We all know he's exceptional in the classroom and super skilled on the basketball court. But with Aundre being one of the youngest kids in his class, I just thought he needed an extra year of maturation."

Said Miller School coach Danny Manuel: "Aundre brings good size on the wing and defensive versatility. His shooting prowess has been recognized by the best in the business despite playing above his age. He's stressed his desire to improve his ball handling, his versatility on offense, and transform his body. An unbelievable personality. He provides us with another high-caliber 2019 with loads of potential for the future."

Stepinac coach Pat Massaroni was surprised by the move and had hoped to keep Hyatt at the White Plains school

"Aundre had a great sophomore year at Stepinac," he said. "We wish him the best of luck at his new school. Aundre has tremendous upside on and off the court. He took great strides this year and will continue to do so."

Hyatt is the second high-profile New York-area star to reclass in transfer this month, following former St. Raymond's star Sid Wilson, who reclassed to 2018 and transferred to Brewster (N.H.) Academy.

One Division 1 coach told SNY.tv he wasn't convinced that reclassifying will necessarily help a player's recruitment.

"At the end of the day, I believe kids are going to end up at the level they deserve to be at," he said. "Reclassifying may take some immediate pressure off of kids to perform at a high level while they're being evaluated. But at some point that pressure to perform is going to resurface and you better be ready regardless of what your classification is. You may receive some new offers as soon as you reclassify but it's yet to be seen if those offers will still be on the table come decision making time."

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 (Hardy LeGwin)
(Hardy LeGwin)

Elias Harden is off the board to Xavier.

A 6-foot-4 shooting guard, Harden averaged 15.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game at the Adidas Circuit finale.

"I want to start off by thanking God for everything with out him none of this would be possible," he said Wednesday on Twitter "I wanna thank my family, coaches, and close friends for motivating me and pushing me to the fullest. The recruiting process was not EASY AT ALL! I wanna thank all the coaches that took time to recruit me….With that being said I will continue my academic and athletic career at Xavier University."

Ranked No. 91 in the class of 2017 by 247 Sports, Harden also held offers from Ole Miss, Florida, Memphis, Georgia, Auburn, West Virginia and Cincinnati. He recently visited Georgia, Xavier and Cincinnati.

"They're all telling me that they'll use me as a shooter," Harden said recently. "I can run the floor and I'm a big guard who can defend, so they're saying they'll use me in a lot of different ways."

Harden will be transferring from Sandy Creek (Ga.) to Pebblebrook this year to join Collin Sexton, Jared Jones and Drue Drinnon. He says the big key for this upcoming year is letting their play do the talking.

"We just need to play good basketball," Harden said. "With Collin coming off of USA [gold medal with the U17 team], he's playing really well right now. Drue is a great player, with his ability to get to the rim and score, he's a great addition as well. Jared down low, he's a big body for us. He can shoot it a bit too."

Harden is coach Chris Mack's second 2017 commit, following 6-6 small forward Jared Ridder.

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Trae Young capped off a momentous July by cutting his list to six schools.

The 6-foot-2 point guard from Norman (OK) North and MoKan Elite is down to Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Washington.

Young, who won the Peach Jam with MoKan Elite and then captured a gold medal with the USA U18 team at the FIBA Americas Championship, broke down all six schools for Rivals.com. He also said he plans to visit all six and may wait until the winter to decide.

Via Rivals:

Kansas: "To have the chance to play somewhere like Allen Fieldhouse is a great opportunity. Coach Self uses and develops guards really well and gets them ready for the league."

Kentucky: "I love the way coach Cal goes about things. I really like that it's about business and he puts the team in a spot to compete for a championship each year."

Oklahoma: "Coach Kruger and I have a great relationship and have continued to build on it these past two years. And I live in Norman so playing close to home would be great."

Oklahoma State: "They have a new coaching staff with coach Underwood and I feel like he's going to turn things around. I would just love to be part of that and help turn the program around."

Texas Tech: "That's where my dad went and the thought of going there and leaving a legacy, that would be really cool for me and my family."

Washington: "I've developed a great relationship with coach Romar and really got a chance to talk to Markelle Fultz about why he committed there and also continuing to play with Mike (Porter) would be great too since we already know each other so well."

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Several of the top high school players on the East Coast will go head-to-head on Aug. 3 in the Entertainer's Basketball Classic Select Few at Rucker Park in Harlem.

The first game tips at 6:30 p.m. and features the top eighth- and ninth-graders, while the second game tips at 7:30 and features the top 10th- and 11th-graders.

Here is the roster for the second game. Check back on ZAGSBLOG for coverage next week.

 

Team 1

Trevon Duval

Che Evans

Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (VILLANOVA)

Hamadou Diallo

Jordan Tucker

Nick Richards

Louis King

Naz Reid

Jahvon Quinerly

Jose Alvarado

 

Team 2

Isaiah Washington

Quade Green

Lonnie Walker

Darryl Morsell

Moses Brown

Tremont Waters

Justin Lewis

Scottie Lewis

Markquis Nowell

Cole Anthony

 

Roster for the first game:

Will Thomas

Gerard Mungo

Daniel Rodriguez

Eric Dixon

Mikael Jones

Jahid Watson

Robert Brown

Joe Toussant

Femi Odukale Jr.

Isaiah Richards

Joseph Phillips

Khalif Battle

Elijah Wynn

Kofi Cockburn

Hassahn Drame

Fousseyeni Drame

Jalen Willis

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Mar 2, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks forward Chris Boucher (25) guards UCLA Bruins guard Jonah Bolden (43) in the second half of the game at Pauley Pavilion. Oregon won 76-68. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)
Mar 2, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks forward Chris Boucher (25) guards UCLA Bruins guard Jonah Bolden (43) in the second half of the game at Pauley Pavilion. Oregon won 76-68. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

UCLA is preparing to take a trip to Australia next month, and it is doing so without two key pieces.

The school announced Tuesday that junior wing Jonah Bolden would forego his final two years of eligibility and turn professional and play in Europe. The news of Bolden leaving comes less than two weeks after sophomore guard Prince Ali underwent surgery to repair a torn left meniscus. That injury occurred on July 8 during a pickup game.

Wednesday on the 4 Quarters Podcast, Bruins assistant coach David Grace addressed Bolden, Ali, and several other topics.

"Jonah came to us and expressed his desire to play professionally, and obviously, there are some other issues that went along with that, but I'm not allowed to talk about that due to the privacy of the young man," said Grace, referencing Bolden's well-documented NCAA eligibility issues.

"That was his decision, and we were saddened to hear that. "That was a heartbreaker, he was working really, really hard," Grace said of Ali, a Bronx native who spent his high school years in Florida. "He had a great attitude, great kid. It's a tragedy, but he'll probably be better around January, and yes, we expect big things from him."

A third player, freshman guard Kobe Paras, withdrew from UCLA after failing to meet certain academic requirements. He had been conditionally admitted to UCLA but has since enrolled at Creighton. Grace noted on Wednesday that the Bruins cannot replace departed players with junior college or graduate transfers due to the academic requirements being so rigorous.

With that, minus Paras, UCLA's freshman class is still loaded. Ranked the No. 5 class in the country by Rivals.com, point guard Lonzo Ball, last season's Naismith High School Player of the Year, power forward T.J. Leaf and center Ike Anigbogu were all five-star, top-25 recruits coming out of high school. Ball, especially, can be electric. The 6-foot-4 18-year-old is projected as the No. 14 in the 2017 NBA Draft according to DraftExpress.

"Lonzo Ball, what can you say about him?" Grace said. "He won every award, went to a public high school (Chino Hills High School), went 35-0 playing some of the best teams in America. Beat Montverde in Florida, just a sensational player and just another great academic kid. "They compare him to Jason Kidd. He can do it all, the best passer I've been around at the high school level."

No matter the youth UCLA employs, expectations at one of the nation's blueblood programs are always through the roof. Fourth-year head coach Steve Alford steered the Bruins to the Sweet 16 in 2014 and 2015, but took a step back by going 15-17 with no postseason in 2016.

Maybe defections to the NBA across Alford's first three seasons, including Zach LaVine, Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Kevon Looney, finally caught up to the program, but those high expectations aren't going anywhere.

"Here at UCLA, there's always pressure," Grace said. "There's pressure every day to perform. This is a school of champions. We had two very good seasons the first two years, then there was a drop-off. We have to hit the mark on freshmen, and replace one-and-done freshmen with other one-and-done freshmen. With that, there will come a year like last season.

"We had talent, we just couldn't put it together at the end to get enough to get into the NCAA Tournament. This year's team is way more experienced with some senior guards, and they've been through the ringer. With the heralded freshman class, I think we'll be able to make an NCAA run, and a deep run."

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 (Ned Dishman)
(Ned Dishman)

Minnesota coach Richard Pitino sat courtside in Las Vegas on Sunday when Matthew Hurt and his D1 Minnesota team beat Team Loaded, 88-76, in a game shown on ESPNU.

But Pitino will have his hands full trying to keep the 6-foot-9 Class of 2019 forward at home.

Hurt's stock has exploded in recent days, as he's added offers from Louisville, North Carolina, Marquette, Ohio State, UCLA and Oregon since the beginning of July.

"I'm really excited seeing my hard work pay off," Hurt told Scout.com. "I'm really excited."

Louisville's entry into the race means Rick and Richard Pitino will go head-to-head in this recruiting battle.

Richard Pitino was relatively new on the job at the Big Ten school when studs like Tyus Jones (Duke), Rashad Vaughn (UNLV) and Reid Travis (Stanford) were going through the recruitment process. This time around he's got more time to put into recruiting guys like Hurt, but the competition will be just as stiff.

Elsewhere around the recruiting world:

**Kris Wilkes, a 6-8 Class of 2017 small forward from Indianapolis (IN) North Central, added a North Carolina offer to Arizona, TCU, Oregon, UConn, Washington, Michigan, Ohio State and Notre DAme, among others.

**Arizona State is the latest to offer Hamidou Diallo, the 6-6 two guard from the NY Rens and Putnam Science Academy (CT). Diallo also holds offers from Kentucky, Duke and Syracuse, among others.

**Cal is the latest to offer Jordan Nwora, Diallo's Ren's teammate and a 6-8 forward at Vermont Academy, his dad told SNY.tv.

**Arizona offered Tyler Herro, a 6-5 Class of 2018 shooting guard from the Wisconsin Playground Warriors who also held offers from Arizona State, Oregon and UNLV, among others.

**Clifton Moore Jr, the 6-10 forward from Hatboro-Horsham Senior High School, has added offers from Kansas State, Boston College, Ole Miss, Drexel, Richmond and Temple, his father told SNY.tv.

**Rasir Bolton, a 6-3 Class of 2018 point guard from Team Loaded, added an Ole Miss offer.

**Louisville offered Immanuel Quickley, the Class of 2018 point guard from Baltimore Elite and John Carroll, per Evan Daniels. He's also recently added offers from Wake Forest, Villanova and Arizona, among others.

**Georgia Tech and Dayton are the latest to offer Christ the King and NY Rens point guard Jose Alvarado.

**David McCormack, a 6-10 Class of 2018 big man from Norfolk (VA) Academy added offers from Missouri and Ole Miss to previous offers from South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Pitt, Kansas, Texas A&M and Seton Hall, among others.

**St. Bonaventure offered 6-6 forward Walter Whyte of the PSA Cardinals and St. Luke's (CT).

**After cutting his list to five schools earlier this month, Christian David, a Class of 2017 wing from Vermont Academy, has set official visits to Butler (Aug. 6), Pittsburgh (Sept. 3), Oregon (Sept. 10) and Miami (TBD), per Evan Daniels.

**5-foot-8 PG Shaakir Lindsey has signed a LOI to attend Kentucky Wesleyan University in the fall. Originally from Teaneck (N.J.) High, he last played at Owens CC.

**Memphis is the latest to offer 6-10 forward Isaiah Whaley of Team Melo and Mt. Zion Prep (MD)

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 (John Hefti)
(John Hefti)

UCLA junior guard Jonah Bolden has informed the coaching staff that he has opted to play professionally this season and will forgo his final two years of eligibility, the school announced Tuesday.

The 6-foot-10 Bolden will look to play for one season in Europe and then enter the 2017 NBA Draft, according to Australian reporter Olgun Uluc.

"Jonah came to us and expressed his desire to play professionally, and obviously, there are some other issues that went along with that, but I'm not allowed to talk about that due to the privacy of the young man," UCLA assistant coach David Grace said on The 4 Quarters Podcast, referencing Bolden's well-documented NCAA eligibility issues.

Bolden played in 31 games, making 11 starts, during his one season with the Bruins (2015-16). He averaged 4.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

In September 2014, the NCAA ruled Bolden a partial qualifier.

The issue for Bolden -- who committed to UCLA in December 2013 -- related to the fact that his clock expired before he graduated high school in the United States. Bolden began at Findlay Prep before transferring and finishing up at Brewster (N.H.) Academy.

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 (Jeffrey Becker)
(Jeffrey Becker)

Former Stony Brook big man Jameel Warney has signed a partially guaranteed deal with the Dallas Mavericks after playing summer league with them, a source told SNY.tv.

Warney averaged 6.5 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 59 percent in summer league in Las Vegas. He also considered playing professionaly in Korea, sources said.

The 6-foot-8 Plainfield, N.J., native averaged 19.8 points and 10.8 rebounds as a senior while leading the Seawolves to their first NCAA Tournament appearance where they lost to Kentucky.

He went for 44 points in the America East title win over Vermont and then scored 23 points in the Kentucky loss.

He then worked out for Boston, Milwaukee, Washington, Atlanta and Dallas.

"All the teams I worked out with told my agent my strengths are really good and they see improvement in the weaknesses," Warney told Newsday. "They always talk about my motor and how relentless I am on the glass. They can see how hard a worker I am."

The news was first reported by Mike Scotto of SheridanHoops.com.

 

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CELEBRATION, Fla. -- Chaundee Brown has made a statement over the past two weeks.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2017 shooting guard has recently picked up offers from Kansas and Indiana, with many other schools tracking the shooting guard from The First Academy (Fla.).

"I feel like I proved a point at Peach Jam," Brown told SNY.tv. "I averaged 22 (points) and 6 (assists), I feel like it went pretty well, and I feel like I proved I belonged in the top 20 in the country."

As for the Jayhawks, Brown has been told that if he decided to go to Lawrence, he would have a place in the rotation right away.

"They're saying that I could step in and play because Frank Mason is leaving," Brown said. "I don't want to go and redshirt somewhere or sit or anything like that, I want to play right away."

With Tom Crean having watched Nike South Beach multiple times, Brown says that the Indiana head man was most impressed by his motor.

"This was the first time that he had ever seen me play," Brown said. "He sat and watched four or five of my games at Peach Jam. He said he liked my game and that he had heard about my work ethic, heard that I work hard."

Currently ranked No. 33 in the nation by 247 Sports, Brown says the main goal will be making the McDonald's All American Game.

"Right now, I'm just trying to work hard," Brown said. "I want to be a better leader and get to the top 20 range, and get into the McDonald's All American area."

Brown currently holds offers from Indiana, Kansas, Georgia Tech, Xavier, Maryland, Memphis, Central Florida, Texas Tech, LSU, Florida, Wake Forest, Southern California, Georgia and UConn. He may cut his list after the Nike Skills Academy, he told Russ Wood.

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Mar 19, 2016; Des Moines, IA, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Kevin Ollie talks to guard Daniel Hamilton (5) in the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports (Jeffrey Becker)
Mar 19, 2016; Des Moines, IA, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Kevin Ollie talks to guard Daniel Hamilton (5) in the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports (Jeffrey Becker)

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- UConn's new athletic director says he's waiting to hear from the Big 12 about its interest level in the school before reaching out with an official pitch to join the conference.

The Big 12's school presidents on Tuesday moved closer to expansion, directing Commissioner Bob Bowlsby to begin evaluating schools interested in joining.

UConn's David Benedict, in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press on Friday, acknowledged the Huskies are interested in being evaluated.

"At this point in time the Power Five conferences certainly are looked to as the most competitive conferences," he said. "They derive the most money from their multi-media agreements, their television agreements. And therefore, certainly we aspire to be in those conferences and compete at that level."

UConn currently competes in most sports in the American Athletic Conference.

Benedict was hired in March to succeed Warde Manuel after he left for Michigan. Benedict said of all possible candidates, UConn is the most similar to the Power Five schools, with $71 million athletic budget.

He noted it was one of three division one schools this past year to send its football, baseball and men's and women's basketball teams to the postseason. And since 1995, UConn has won 11 women's national basketball championships, four men's basketball titles, two in field hockey and one in men's soccer. The school's football program also has been to six bowl games.

But Benedict said he has no plans to pick up the phone and call Bowlsby or head to Texas with a PowerPoint presentation.

He said it's his understanding that the Big 12 will reach out to those it knows have an interest.

"I don't think circumventing that process is the way to go," he said. "But I don't think there is a question as to whether or not the Big 12 is aware that we would have an interest if they are interested in us."

Benedict said if the school does join the Big 12, he believes it would eventually need to expand its 40,000-seat football stadium in East Hartford. But he said they can't do that until Husky fans consistently sell out the building.

He said the school is currently concentrating its efforts on raising private donations to upgrade its baseball, softball, soccer and hockey facilities. There is still no timetable for construction, but Benedict said the school has about $14 million committed to the project, with a goal of raising another $11 million.

"That's a priority for us, because it also sends out the message that we are going to invest in facilities that are up to (Power Five) standard," he said

Benedict said an intact American Conference is still a viable alternative should the Huskies be passed over by the Power Five. But he said the idea that UConn would consider rejoining the Big East for sports other than football is not currently on the table.

"Everybody is jockeying for position," he said. "Part of my role and responsibility is making sure we're looking at all options, keeping all options open to make sure we put ourselves as a university and an athletics program in the best possible position to compete."

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida center Gorjok Gak will not be eligible to play as a freshman next season.

The Gators announced Tuesday that the NCAA cleared Gak for enrollment this fall but denied his ineligibility for the 2016-17 season. The 6-foot-11, 205-pounder from Australia will be allowed to practice and take part in basketball-related activities, but not games.

He attended high school at Victory Rock Prep in Bradenton. If he meets progress marks, he will be cleared to play as a sophomore in 2017-18 and have three seasons of eligibility left.

Gak averaged 13.8 point and 9.3 rebounds last season at Victory Rock. He signed with the Gators in April after being released from a national letter of intent he signed with Oklahoma State last November. He requested his release after the Cowboys fired Travis Ford.

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Now that the July live period is over and weary players, coaches and media have returned home from a month of travel, here are 10 story lines you need to know about July.

  1. USA, USA!

No, it's not just a chant from the political conventions, it also sums up America's dominance on the world stage at the youth basketball level. Despite cries that AAU basketball has ruined the basketball fundamentals of our youth, the U.S. won the gold medal at the FIBA U17 World Championship in Zaragoza, Spain and also took home gold from the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Valdivia, Chile. The U.S. now stands at a perfect 30-0 all-time in U17 play, while the U18s are 53-2 all-time.

2. Canada's still pretty good, too

Our neighbors to the North may have failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics, but the country that produced Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph has more bright stars on the horizon. Virginia Tech commit Nickeil Alexander-Walker paced Canada's U18 squad with a team-high 25 points in Saturday night's gold medal game after averaging a team-best 17.4 points over the Canadians' first four games. At the U17 level, R.J. Barrett dropped 33 points in a quarterfinal loss to Turkey and Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Texas are all working hard for the Class of 2019 wing. His likely future Montverde (FL) Academy teammate Andrew Nembhard is a 6-4 lead guard who also has several elite schools working hard.

3. Collin Sexton dominated

It's possible that nobody had a better July than Collin Sexton. The 6-foot-3 point guard from Mableton (GA) Pebblebrook was named the U17 World Championship MVP after going for 16 points, including 10 in the first quarter, and eight assists as the USA destroyed Turkey, 96-56, in the U17 gold medal game.

On July 18, Sexton cut his school list to 10: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Kansas, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State and reigning NCAA champion Villanova.

On Friday, Sexton went for 20 points to lead Team CP3 to an 88-72 win over Mokan Elite in the championship game of The 8 AAU tournament.

Oh, and did we mention he also dropped 44 points on the Georgia Stars in a game at the Peach Jam?

4. Mass Rivals went undefeated in July

As far as teams go, nobody had a better month than Vin Pastore and Mass Rivals. The Massachusetts team competed in four tournaments, winning four championships and going 21-0. Led by guards Makai Ashton-Langford and Wabissa Bede, Mass Rivals finished up July be taking care of Garner Road (N.C.) 93-78 to win the Adidas Summer Championship on ESPNU.

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5. Washington is adding a couple of pros

Lorenzo Romar hasn't led Washington to the NCAA Tournament since 2011, but there may be no excuses if he fails to do so across the next two years. After sending two players to the first round of the NBA Draft this year in Marquese Chriss and Dejounte Murray, Washington now has two projected one-and-done lottery picks sewn up in incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz and 6-9 wing Michael Porter Jr., who committed for 2017. The 6-5 Fultz, who could be in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, was named the MVP of the U.S. U18 team in Chile after going for 23 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in the final. Porter Jr., meantime, averaged 15.8 points and 5.6 rebounds while leading the U18s in scoring. That came after he dropped 33 points on the PSA Cardinals in the Peach Jam final before the entire Washington coaching staff, including Romar, his Godfather, and his father, assistant coach Michael Porter Sr. The two future Huskies were the leading scorers on the U18 team, combining to average 29.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists.

6. Point guards, point guards, point guards

The Class of 2017 has several elite point guards at the top of the class and it's going to be fascinating to see where they all end up. The U18 team kept three of them in Trae Young, Quade Green and Matt Coleman, while Trevon Duval did not play for Team USA. Coleman, out of Oak Hill Academy (VA), actually led the U18 team among point guards in scoring at 7.8 points while also dishing 4.4 assists per game. Young, a major factor in MoKan Elite's Peach Jam title, averaged 6.0 points and 6.0 points and 3.2 assists, while Green, who led the PSA Cardinals to the Peach Jam final, averaged 4.6 points and 2.6. dimes.

In the end, expect Kentucky and Duke to each add one of these guys although who lands where remains unclear. The 6-2 Young is considering several schools, including Kentucky and Oklahoma. The 6-foot Green cut his list to 13 schools, with Duke, Kentucky and Syracuse among those in the mix. The 6-2 Coleman has a slew of suitors, including Syracuse, Xavier, Arizona, Texas, Louisville, Stanford, Washington, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Ohio State, Providence and Seton Hall. The 6-3 Duval plans to cut his list to 10 in August, with many sources now saying it could come down to Under Armour schools UCLA and Maryland.

7. Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine are the truth

While some coaches (and national analysts) were just exposed to the Class of 2019 stars this month in Las Vegas and elsewhere, those of us closer to New Jersey know all about the Ranney School (N.J.) stars. Kentucky's John Calipari, Kansas' Bill Self and assistants from Duke are among those monitoring the duo, whose coach was told they can get an offer from any school they are interested in. "I'm going to be honest with you," Antoine told SNY.tv in Georgia. "Whenever any coach comes up and watches our game I'm usually pretty chill. But when coach Cal came up, not going to lie, Jalen Gaffney and I saw him come up to watch us, that was the first time I've ever been starstruck by a coach."

8. Don't sleep on New York, New Jersey

While Lewis and Antoine may have enjoyed the biggest breakout of any players from New Jersey or New York in July, AAU teams from the two states did quite well this month. The PSA Cardinals came back from 20 points down in the Peach Jam semifinals to beat Team Penny before coming up short against Porter Jr. and MoKan Elite in the final. The NY Rens reached the Peach Jam quarterfinals. WE-R1 and Sports U captured the 17U and 16U titles, respectively, at the UAA Finals in Cartersville, Ga. The NY Lightning also reached the 17U Gold Division Championship at the AAU Super Showcase. Meantime, New York City stars like Mohamed Bamba and Hamidou Diallo helped the USA U18 team win the gold medal in Chile.

9. Kids can commit at anytime

As a reminder that recruiting is a 12-month gig, a group of players committed in July, right during the busiest recruiting month of the year. On top of Michael Porter Jr. (Washington), Chuma Okeke (Auburn), Zach Brown (St. John's) Eli Brooks (Michigan) and Andrew Platek (North Carolina), all pulled the trigger in July.

10. What's ahead in August

While some, like ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi, have called for August to be a dead month in recruiting to give everybody (including coaches) a break, that isn't the case right now. Instead, coaches will now move to get players on unofficial visits next month, while players across the nation will be "cutting" their lists -- some to 15, some to 13, some to 5. In terms of events, New York City will host the Big Strick Classic on Aug. 6 and the Under Armour Elite 24 Game on Aug. 20, while L.A. hosts Adidas Nations July 28-Aug. 1.

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Here are the rosters for the 2016 Nike Basketball Academy, held in Los Angeles July 24-28.

Several New York and New Jersey high school guys are at the event, including Brandon Randolph and Mohamed Bamba of the PSA Cardinals, Hamidou Diallo of the NY Rens and Nick Richards of Expressions Elite. Quade Green of the PSA Cardinals and St. John's commit Zach Brown are also among those in attendance.

Brown and Randolph are on the same Spurs team with Collin Sexton and Wendell Carter Jr.

Diallo and Bamba, meantime, are on a Warriors team with Tremont Waters and P.J. Washington, among others.

Richards is on a Pacers team with Trae Young, John Petty and Jarred Vanderbilt.

Green in on the Lakers with Brandon McCoy and Chaundee Brown Jr.

As far as the College Roster, it includes two players from the national champion Villanova Wildcats, Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart.

 

 

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CELEBRATION, Fla. -- Christian Brown has been a beast at the Super Showcase in Orlando.

Brown and the Georgia Stars dominated the Houston Defenders in an 81-56 win in front of coaches from UNC, Virginia, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Texas, Clemson and many more.

The 6-foot-7 rising sophomore small forward had 18 points in the win.

"It's been a really productive summer for me so far," Brown told SNY.tv after the win. "This is a really good experience playing in front of college coaches. It makes me play harder, and it's a thinking game, and it's about decision making and your IQ. Playing in front of coaches is a really good experience."

Coming off of a year in which the A.C. Flora (S.C.) small forward helped lead the school to a 26-2 record and a state championship, Brown will be counted on as a leader to try to duplicate the feat.

"I need to be a team leader this year," Brown said. "We lost two seniors, so me just stepping up and being a team leader would be huge. James (Reese) and I are going to be returning, so we need to really step up and be leaders so we can go back to back."

Brown currently holds 11 D-1 offers from Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Georgia, Tennessee, Georgia State, Western Kentucky, College of Charleston, with heavy interest from Kansas.

"I'm working on my shot a lot," Brown said. "I'm gaining confidence by crashing the boards and breaking down defenders. My game is slashing, so I'm working on getting easy putbacks down low as well."

Expect that offer to grow exponentially over the next year or so.

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It took some doing, but USA Basketball is bringing more gold back stateside. 

After the United States Under-17 National Team won gold at the FIBA World Championship earlier this month, the U18 team followed suit on Saturday evening, capturing gold at the FIBA Americas Championship with a 99-84 win over Canada in Valdivia, Chile. 

Incoming Washington freshman Markelle Fultz was named tournament MVP after leading five players in double-figured with a team-high 23 points on 10-for-16 shooting to go along with five assists and five rebounds for the United States, which finished the tournament a perfect 5-0. Consensus five-star recruit P.J. Washington added 19 on 7-for-8 shooting in the win. 

Michael Porter Jr. (Father Tolton Catholic H.S./Columbia, Mo.), added 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds; Hamidou Diallo (Putnam Science Academy/Corona, N.Y.), contributed 14 points; and Jarrett Allen (St. Stephen's Episcopal School/Round Rock, Texas), had 10 points and eight rebounds.

"Canada played a really good game," said USA U18 and University of Texas head coach Shaka Smart. "They shot the ball well from outside, particularly (Nickeil) Walker. I think our guys did a good job of keeping their composure. There were a couple times when we got up, and we let down a little bit. But then Canada made runs, our guys kept composure and made good plays."

The United States average margin of victory through its first four games at FIBA Americas was a gaudy 34.3 points, but it needed a 27-19 third quarter to gain separation, then needed to fend off a game Canadian squad in the fourth. 

Canada sliced its deficit to two at 84-82 with 3:49 to play, but a combined seven points from Fultz and Porter Jr. restored order. Porter Jr., the team's leading scorer over five games, capped a strong tournament by going for 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. 

Canada's run to the gold medal game was accomplished with the help of multiple Division I talents, but maybe not the widely-known commodities of the U17 team, which featured Rowan Barrett Jr., Andrew Nembhard and Simi Shittu

Virginia Tech commit Nickeil Alexander-Walker paced Canada with a team-high 25 points on Saturday night after averaging a team-best 17.4 points over the Canadians' first four games. 

The Americans' historical dominance at the U18 level continued as it moved to 53-2 all-time at FIBA Americas with the win. They have now won four consecutive gold medals and are unbeaten at the event dating back to a loss to Argentina in the gold medal game in 2008. 

All four FIBA Americas semifinalists, the United States, Canada, Brazil and Puerto Rico, qualified for the FIBA U19 World Championship next summer in Egypt. The United States is the two-time defending world champion at the U19 level. 

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Seton Hall guard Derrick Gordon fields a pass during practice for a first-round men's college basketball game Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in the NCAA Tournament in Denver. Seton Hall faces Gonzaga on Thursday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski (David Zalubowsk/AP)
Seton Hall guard Derrick Gordon fields a pass during practice for a first-round men's college basketball game Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in the NCAA Tournament in Denver. Seton Hall faces Gonzaga on Thursday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski (David Zalubowsk/AP)

Derrick Gordon did not get selected in the NBA Draft and wasn't given a chance to work out for any NBA teams, so he's now pursuing a different career path.

Gordon, a New Jersey native who became the first openly gay male Division 1 basketball player when he came out in April 2014, is training to become a firefighter in San Francisco.

"I've had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way," Gordon, who finished his college career at Seton Hall after stops at Western Kentucky and UMass, wrote on Instagram on Friday. "But I'm making a change in my career...I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I'm excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!"

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Gordon averaged 8.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 steals per game last season at Seton Hall.

He made history in March by becoming the first player ever to compete for three different teams in the NCAA Tournament. HE also became the first openly gay male player in the Big Dance.

"It's great, it just goes to show I'm the true definition of an ultimate winner," Gordon told ESPN then.

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Michael Porter Jr. went for 17 points on Friday as the USA Basketball Men's U18 National Team easily defeated Brazil 88-48 in the semifinals of the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Valdivia, Chile.

Trae Young added 11 points; and incoming Washington freshman Markelle Fultz finished with 10 points, 11 assists and six steals.

Porter Jr., who committed to Washington last Friday, has led the Americans in scoring in three of their four games. That follows a 33-point outburst on July 10 when he led MoKan Elite to the Peach Jam championship in front of Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar and the entire staff.

The USA will take on also-undefeated Canada (4-0) in the championship at 8:15 p.m. (EDT) on July 23. All of the USA games will be live online at YouTube.com/FIBA.

Canada advanced after beating Puerto Rico (2-2) 83-66. Brazil and Puerto Rico will meet in the bronze medal game at 6 p.m. (EDT).

"I was really pleased with the second half," said USA U18 and University of Texas head coach Shaka Smart. "Our guys showed really good energy to start the second half and throughout the second half when we put different lineups in the game. I thought in the first half we were a little bit sluggish, and guys were just kind of playing to the level of the opponent. We don't want to do that. We want to play the best we can possibly play. I thought the second half was much more like that."

The USA led 10-2 to start the game, but Brazil had cut it to three points 14-11, before Kevin Huerter (Shenendehowa Central H.S./Clifton Park, N.Y.) hit a 3-pointer to make it 17-11 with 2:16 left in the first quarter. After a made free throw from Hamidou Diallo (Putnam Science Academy/Corona, N.Y.) and three free throws from Brazil, the USA closed the period with another 3 from Huerter and a score from Jarrett Allen (St. Stephen's Episcopal School/Round Rock, Texas) to make it 23-14 at the first break.

Brazil got no closer than within seven points in the second quarter, and the USA again finished the period strong, closing with six unanswered points to lead 40-26 at the midway point.

By halftime, Allen had scored all 14 of his points, Fultz (DeMatha Catholic H.S./Upper Marlboro, Md.) already had dished out seven assists and the USA had forced 19 turnovers out of Brazil.

With the USA leading 46-30 with 7:58 to go in the third quarter, Fultz sank a 3 that was the start of a 27-8 run to close the period that included three 3s from Porter Jr. (Father Tolton Catholic H.S./Columbia, Mo.) as well as 3s from Matt Coleman III (Oak Hill Academy/Norfolk, Va.), Quade Green (Newmann-Goretti H.S./Philadelphia, Pa.) and Young (Norman North H.S./Norman, Okla.), and the USA led 73-38 at the final quarter break.

"We did a good job defending, rebounding, and we had a lot of energy," said Green, who dished out four of the USA's 24 assists.

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Iona continued its strong offseason with the addition Friday of Darius Hicks, a 6-foot-10 forward from the USAD AAU program who will play at Coastal Academy (N.J.).

Hicks, who is about to turn 19, is Iona's first pledge in the Class of 2017.

"He's a rim protector and he catches stuff off the rim," Troy Bradford, his AAU coach, told SNY.tv. "He's very mean. He's a happy go lucky kid but he's a dog, he's mean.

"Iona will work on his motor and get his motor better. To me, I think he's a pro. He's 215 and he hasn't touched a weight yet."

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Led by the recruiting efforts of associate head coach Jared Grasso, Iona has recently solidified its 2016 class with the additions of 6-8 Ivo Von Tamm of Estonia and IMG Academy (FL), 6-6 Jahyde Gardner of East Mississippi Community College, 6-9 Tyrell Williams of Western Nebraska Community College, 6-7 wing Jan Svandrlik of Indian Hills Community College, 6-3 two guard Deandre Turner of Broward County College and 6-5 wing E.J. Crawford of St. Thomas More.

The Gaels previously landed graduated transfer guards Sam Cassell Jr. (UConn) and Jon Severe (Fordham).

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Jarred Vanderbilt, the No. 6 small forward in the Class of 2017 per 247Sports.com, cut his list to nine via Twitter on Friday.

The 6-foot-8 Vanderbilt out of Bellaire (TX) Victory Prep is down to Kentucky, Houston, Kansas, Arizona, Oregon, North Carolina, TCU and Baylor.

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Trevon Duval is planning visits to Kansas and several West Coast schools in August, his father told SNY.tv. on Friday.

The 6-foot-3 Class of 2017 point guard will try to visit Kansas, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona and Cal, as first reported by InsideMd.com.

"Yeah, he's going to try to make some visits." Trevor Duval told SNY.tv by phone. "We're trying to get out there to visit some schools...We were supposed to visit Kansas during the season and we didn't get a chance to."

No dates are set yet.

Maryland and Villanova on the East Coast are among the schools working hardest for Duval, he said previously.

Both Maryland and UCLA are Under Armour schools and have been strongly linked to Duval because he is a valued member of the Under Armour family.

As previously reported here, Duval plans to cut his list to 10 around the time of the Under Armour Elite 24 game on Aug. 20.

"I was thinking of cutting it in August," Trevon Duval said previously. "Cut it to 10 around the Elite 24 (Aug. 20). After that, I want to take all of my officials when I have those five. I want to see all of those schools and give everyone a shot."

Ranked No. 5 in the class of 2017 by ESPN, Duval is now in the unique position of having to choose both a high school for his senior season - and a college. He plans to leave Dallas (TX) Advanced Prep International and said last week he hopes to choose a new high school by August.

His father said no decision has been made on that front.

"No, not yet," Trevor said. "We'll make a decision next month."

Photo: Kelly Kline/ UA

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CELEBRATION, Fla. - Devon Dotson has made quite the name for himself over the past couple weeks.

The No. 49-ranked player in the class of 2018 by 247 Sports, Dotson most recently picked up an offer from Kansas and head coach Bill Self.

"I just heard that he loved me," the pass-first point guard told SNY.tv after a win against the Alabama Challenge. "He said he loves my competitiveness and my fire on the court. He said they're going to be on me hard, and they're going to keep in touch."

A Chicago native and North Carolina transplant, the Providence Day point guard had UNC Head Coach Roy Williams watching a couple of his games at the UAA Finals. Dotson says that playing at UNC would be an honor.

"It would be great," Dotson said. "In state school, and playing for your state. I think it's a great program, they said they're going to be in touch."

Multiple schools are working hard according to Dotson, with no real front runner.

"I hear from UNC, Wake Forest, N.C. State and Florida a lot," Dotson said. "Providence, USC as well. Quite a few schools. I'd take unofficials to all of the schools that have offered me. I'd love to see the campuses, and get a feel for the schools. I'll probably take some after July is over, and quite a few after the fall season."

Dotson averaged 22.3 points, 6 rebounds and 4.3 assists at the UA Finals, shooting 60 percent from the field. He said that no matter what it takes for his team to get the win, he will make sure it happens, and most of the time it is getting all of his teammates involved in the offense.

"I love to see other players having success," Dotson said. "It's not all about me. I love to see our team have success. I think that getting everyone involved is the best way to win."

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(Brad Penner)

George Washington University says it is bringing in outside counsel as part of an investigation into allegations against men's basketball coach Mike Lonergan.

The school says in a statement released by a spokesman Thursday night that it is "undertaking a Title IX review" but that "some of the reported allegations go beyond the scope of Title IX."

The statement comes in response to a story posted earlier Thursday on www.washingtonpost.com that says former GW players - quoted anonymously - complained about Lonergan's behavior.

Lonergan told The Washington Post that "these types of accusations" were previously investigated by the school "and found to be groundless."

Lonergan led GW to the National Invitation Tournament championship last season.

© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press

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The 2016 USA Basketball Men's U18 National Team outscored Chile 20-10 in the fourth quarter to turn what had been a tightly contested game into a 70-50 win at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship on Thursday night in Valdivia, Chile.

Incoming Maryland freshman Kevin Huerter led the way with 14 points, including four 3-pointers during a second-quarter run, while incoming Washington freshman Markelle Fultz added 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots;

Uncommitted Class of 2017 guard Matt Coleman added 10 points, six rebounds and six assists; and uncommitted 2017 big man Mohamed Bamba collected nine rebounds to go with his seven points.

As Group B's No. 1 seed, the USA will take on Brazil (2-1), Group A's No. 2 seed, at 8: 15 p.m. (EDT) on July 22. The other medal semifinal will include Canada (3-0) against Puerto Rico (2-1) at 6 p.m. (EDT).

The semifinal winners will meet in the gold medal game on July 23, while the semifinal losers will play in the bronze medal game. All of the USA games will be live online at YouTube.com/FIBA.

Additionally, as the top four finishing teams at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, the USA, Brazil, Canada and Puerto Rico all earned a berth into the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship (site and dates TBD).

"First of all, Chile was extremely tough and aggressive tonight," said USA U18 and University of Texas head coach Shaka Smart. "I thought they played great in front of their home crowd. They played with a lot passion early, and when we had defensive breakdowns, they made us pay by making shots. I thought our guys did a really good job in the second half of playing with more energy and more connectivity on the defensive end. We were able to force more stops."

In front of a packed house that was in support of the host nation, the USA held Chile to 26.2 percent from the field (17-65 FGs) and just four fastbreak points, while the U.S. offense tallied 26 points in transition and had 20 assists on 27 made baskets.

"We definitely didn't have our best game, but in front of a hostile crowd like that, they played really well." said Huerter (Shenendehowa Central H.S./Clifton Park, N.Y.). "Their crowd really helped them. We faced adversity in the first half. We weren't making shots. They were in the game with us, we were down at couple of points, but we pulled it out. I think we showed a lot about our team with this win."

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Zach Brown, a 7-foot-2, 265-pound Class of 2017 center from Miami, has committed to St. John's, his guardian Michael Lipman told SNY.

Brown was arrested in Miami in May on multiple robbery charges, according to a police record.

Brown was charged with armed robbery, credit card fraud and robbery by sudden snatching. The first two carried a bond of $10,000 apiece and the third charge carried a bond of $5,000.

Brown was released from custody and then played with his Nike South Beach team at the Peach Jam earlier this month.

"Two of the cases have been dropped and we remain hopeful about the third that's pending," attorneys Michael T. Davis and Benedict P. Kuehen told SNY.tv by phone, referring to the armed robbery and credit card fraud.

He still has a court date on the purse snatching charge in late July, Davis said. David added that Brown was taking summer school courses and is on pace to graduate.

Brown committed to UConn Jan. 20 and enrolled at Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut soon after, with speculation he might try to re-classify into the class of 2016.

But his time at Putnam was brief. The Hartford Courant reported Brown was involved in a postgame fight in Rhode Island and left the school in mid-February.

UConn and Brown then parted ways in May.

Lipman, Brown's guardian, told SNY.tv at the time Brown would "reevaluate his options."

The No. 3-ranked center in the Class of 2017 according to 247Sports.com, Brown held offers from Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Miami, but it is unclear who was still recruiting him after the robbery charges.

He is St. John's first commit in the Class of 2017. The program technically doesn't have any scholarships open for 2017 but is involved with several prospects, including PSA Cardinals forward Hasahn French.

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LAS VEGAS -- It's been a busy summer for Troy Brown Jr., as the 6-foot-6 guard has shuttled across the country on the EYBL circuit while also finding time to try out for the USA Basketball Under-17 team (he made the cut). So it's only natural that he's relishing the benefits of playing in the NY2LA Summer Showdown, which is being held in his hometown of Las Vegas.

"I sleep in my own bed and I just drive over here," Brown said with a laugh after playing in front of coaches from Oregon, Cal, Utah, Gonzaga, Texas, UNLV and many more on Wednesday. "I like to do good all the time, but especially having friends and family here, I wanted to prove a point."

Brown won't get to relax for long, however. As one of the most coveted backcourt prospects in the Class of 2017, he'll soon have some big recruiting decisions to make. For now, Brown plans to narrow his choices down sometime within the next month.

"Right now I'm getting close to cutting down my list in a couple weeks," he said. "When it comes to deciding, I feel like I need to take my visits and figure out where I'm going to go and just get on campus and talk to the coaches about what position I'm going to play and what they see for my future."

Brown has offers from schools such as Duke, Cal, Kansas, Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, UNLV and UCLA, and when it comes time to trim his list, he's going to put a lot of stock in personal relationships.

"I would say building a one-on-one connection with the coach [is most important]," he said. "That's huge for me, especially if I am going to play that point guard position. I need to know how he feels about everything and what he wants me to do."

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By MIKE GRIMALA

LAS VEGAS -- Jordan Tucker and Jordan Nwora sure know how to draw a crowd.

The Class of 2017 wing duo took the floor at the Las Vegas Fab 48 on Wednesday in front of coaches from Xavier, Indiana, Duke, Seton Hall, St. John's Marquette, Long Beach, UNLV and more, and NY Rens coach Andy Borman has a good idea why his twosome is so popular.

"I think the thing that's interesting to college coaches is that they still have room to improve," Borman said. "With these kids, Tucker and Nwora, they can do so many things and they're so versatile. I don't think their identities are even established yet, which makes their ceiling so much higher. College coaches see that and recognize how good they could be."

Tucker, a 6-foot-7 swingman out of White Plains (N.Y.) Archbishop Stepinac who averaged 15 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game in EYBL play, takes every audition seriously.

"My goal is to show the coaches and scouts that I'm a complete player," Tucker said. "I want to show that I can do everything-get to the basket, pass, shoot. I think I'm coming along to be that player that I want to be."

Tucker listed Indiana, Maryland, Syracuse, Villanova and USC among the schools that are recruiting him the hardest and said that he'll start to trim his list to 7-10 schools once he hears from one more program.

"I'm pretty much set with my final list," he said. "I haven't announced it yet because I'm waiting on a Duke offer, and then I'll announce after that."

Nwora, a 6-foot-8 combo forward from Vermont Academy with outstanding shooting range, said his performance has taken off in the last year since he dedicated himself to getting in shape and taking care of his body. It's allowed him to add a physical dimension to his game and opened up more opportunities to score in the paint.

"Last year, body-wise I just wasn't in the kind of shape to compete with these guys," Nwora said. "I just started drinking only water, and running 2-3 miles every day and that's helped me slim down a lot. And now this year I'm proving that I can play and be one of the best at this level."

Like Tucker, Nwora is planning to start focusing on his college options shortly after the summer season comes to an end.

"I have 30, 35-plus offers," Nwora said. "Some more will probably come after this tournament. And then probably sometime in August I'll sit down with my family and talk with some coaches and try to narrow down the list."

Nwora has already taken unofficial visits to Seton Hall, USC, Marquette and Northwestern, and he counted Oklahoma State, Cal, Utah, Pitt, Georgia Tech and UConn among the schools that are recruiting him the hardest at the moment.

 

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GALLOWAY, N.J. -- David Beatty is still finalizing his list of schools but says he wants to take official visits to four universities.

"I'm taking an official to Indiana, Georgetown, Maryland and UConn," the 6-foot-3 Beatty told SNY.tv on Wednesday night after his Philly Pride team blew out Team Belief, 69-36.

Temple head coach Fran Dunphy and Georgetown assistant Kevin Broadus sat courtside for this win.

"I feel like that's love," Beatty said. "They could be out in Vegas but they here watching me. That's real love, so I like that."

Hence the visit to see the Hoyas.

"Oh, yeah, definitely I'm going to take an official to Georgetown," he said.

Missouri and Texas are the latest schools to offer Beatty.

Beatty, who played last season at St. Benedict's Prep but has yet to commit to going back to the New Jersey school, says he will commit to a college when he feels the time is right.

"Whenever I feel right, I don't got no date or anything like that," he said.

Beatty is a scoring combo guard who feels he can also be a strong leader.

"My shooting ability, I'm a leader and I'm a pretty good play-maker," he said. "I make plays and I just make things happen so I can bring that to whatever school I go to."

Kyle Rawls, the Philly Pride coach, says Beatty brings athleticism, a high IQ and a strong motor.

"His motor is like he runs off diesel fuel," Rawls said. "He can play the one, two, either or. He has good eyes, puts people in position. He's eager to learn....He's improved a lot, I love him."

 

R.J. COLE SAYS THREE WORKING HARDEST

R.J. Cole, the 6-1 Class of 2017 point guard at St. Anthony's, says three schools are working the hardest.

"I just know Howard, Monmouth and Boston U" will make his final five, he said.

Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson was also courtside for Cole.

The Linden, N.J., native will be the leading returning guard at St. Anthony's, which won the New Jersey Tournament of Champions title in 2016.

Some wonder why more mid-majors haven't reached out to Cole, but he's not worried about it.

"If coaches don't like what they see, then I would rather take the mid-majors," he said.

Wherever he goes, Cole plans to bring his winning pedigree.

"I'll be an all-around player," he said. "I can score and I can be an assist man for my teammates."

 

ELI BROOKS PLAYS IN FRONT OF JOHN BEILEIN

One day after committing to Michigan, Jersey Shore Warriors point guard Eli Brooks played in front of Michigan coach John Beilein. Brooks scored 17 points but didn't play exceptionally well in a 78-67 loss to Cole and the Playaz.

"He played great, he's only human," his coach Tony Sagona said.

 

FREE THROWS

Markquis Nowell, the 5-6, 145-pound guard from the NJ Playaz, says George Washington, Seton Hall and Georgetown are among the schools recruiting him the hardest, but also mentioned VCU. As for his height, he said, "God gave me what he gave me so I feel I have to play with a chip on my shoulder and that's what I do every time I step on the court."...TCU, Memphis and Providence have offered 6-10 2017 forward Daniel Mading of St. Anthony's. Georgetown, Cal & Vandy are all interested in the former Arizona State commit. Mading will learn in mid-August if he gets a waiver to play next season for Naismith Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley. He turns 19 before the New Jersey deadline.

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Michael Porter Jr., P.J. Washington and Hamidou Diallo combined for 53 points on Wednesday as the USA Basketball Men's U18 National Team easily defeated the U.S. Virgin Islands 107-63 in the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Valdivia, Chile.

Porter Jr., who committed to Washington last Friday, scored 20 points for the second straight day and now has 73 points in his last three official games -- including a 33-point outburst on July 10 when he led MoKan Elite to the Peach Jam championship in front of Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar and the entire staff.

Washington added 19 points and Diallo had 14. Both players are uncommitted in the Class of 2017.

Incoming Washington freshman wing Markelle Fultz added 11 points and 4 assists, incoming Texas big man Jarrett Allen collected 10 rebounds to go with seven points and four assists and Trae Young dished out seven assists.

"I thought our guys did some good things," said USA U18 and University of Texas head coach Shaka Smart. "I really thought we played well together, in terms of passing the basketball - 35 assists. We did a nice job against their zone of finding open pockets and making the extra pass. I thought that first group of five guys really set the tone by playing unselfishly, and then in the second half, that group did a terrific job on the defensive end. For parts of the game, we let them get loose from outside. They shot 44 3s, so they are going make some of them, but we need to do a better job of contesting."

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Tags: Michael Porter Jr. , USA Basketball U18s , Adam Zagoria

Marco Anthony, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard from San Antonio (TX) Holmes, committed to Virginia on Tuesday.

He also reportedly considered Iowa State, UTEP, Long Island, Mercer and Sam Houston State. Anthony is coach Tony Bennett's first commit in 2017.

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Eli Brooks is off the board to Michigan.

The 6-foot-1 Class of 2017 point guard from Spring Grove (Pa.) High School and the Jersey Shore Warriors AAU program committed to John Beilein's program on Tuesday.

"It was a great feel and I really enjoyed the people and the campus," he told SNY.tv of his visit.

Brooks, who joins 6-5 shooting guard Jordan Poole in Michigan's 2017 class, recently visited Ohio State, Michigan and Villanova.

Tony Sagona of the Jersey Shore Warriors said Brooks chose Michigan over Villanova, Ohio State, N.C. State, Temple, Kansas State and George Mason.

"On his visit he loved the school [Michigan], the campus and coaches," Sagona told SNY.tv. "Eli is a point guard who can make everyone better and attacks the basket as well.

"He has a great understanding of the game and is an excellent passer and very athletic. He's a great shooter, too."

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 (Hardy LeGwin)
(Hardy LeGwin)

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. - Elias Harden has seen his stock rise drastically over the past couple months.

Ranked No. 91 in the class of 2017 by 247 Sports, Harden says that he has drawn quite a bit of interest from SEC schools.

"My most recent offer was from Ole' Miss," Harden told SNY.tv. "Florida, Memphis have offered recently as well. I've been in contact with Xavier, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, West Virginia and Cincinnati the most, as well as Ole' Miss."

Recently coming off of three unofficial visits, Harden says he has another unofficial visit in mind that he wants to take in the near future.

"I took three unofficials so far," Harden said. "I went to Georgia, Xavier, Cincinnati. They're all recruiting me hard, so I'm just taking my time with the recruiting. I do want to take another unofficial visit to Florida."

At 6-foot-4, Harden averaged 15.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game at the Adidas Circuit finale.

"They're all telling me that they'll use me as a shooter," Harden said. "I can run the floor and I'm a big guard who can defend, so they're saying they'll use me in a lot of different ways."

Harden will be transferring from Sandy Creek (Ga.) to Pebblebrook this year to join Collin Sexton, Jared Jones and Drue Drinnon. He says the big key for this upcoming year is letting their play do the talking.

"We just need to play good basketball," Harden said. "With Collin coming off of USA [gold medal with the U17 team], he's playing really well right now. Drue is a great player, with his ability to get to the rim and score, he's a great addition as well. Jared down low, he's a big body for us. He can shoot it a bit too."

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 (B. Alyssa Trofort)
(B. Alyssa Trofort)

By JACK LEGWIN & ADAM ZAGORIA

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- Isaiah Washington, the 6-foot-1 Class of 2017 point guard from St. Raymond's in The Bronx, says four schools are working the hardest for him right now.

"Texas A&M, Minnesota, New Mexico, Seton Hall have been showing the most interest," Washington told SNY.tv. "My recruitment is wide open though."

He picked up offers from Texas A&M and VCU last month.

"This summer has been going well," said Washington, who runs with New Heights on the Under Armour circuit. "I have been playing well on the circuit and going to a lot of big camps. Working on my pick and roll game."

As for what he'll be looking for in a school, Washington said: "I'm going to be looking at if it feels like it's at home. I really want to feel comfortable playing there."

With his former St. Ray's teammate Sid Wilson opting to reclass to 2018 and transfer to Brewster (N.H.) Academy, Washington will have to shoulder a bigger role for his team, which is set to play in the 2017 SNY Invitational.

"There's a lot of good players left in New York," Washington said. "With me being the main face of New York City, I've got to put on because everyone wants to see me do well."

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Newly-minted Washington commit Michael Porter Jr. went for 20 points and 5 rebounds to lead the USA to a 103-70 rout of Puerto Rico in the first game for both teams at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Valdivia, Chile.

The 6-foot-9 Porter Jr. committed to Washington on Friday on the eve of the team's trip to Chile. His father, Michael Porter Sr., is an assistant coach and head coach Lorenzo Romar is his Godfather.

Incoming Texas freshman Jarrett Allen (St. Stephen's Episcopal School/Round Rock, Texas) had 18 points and eight rebounds; Mohamed Bamba (Westtown School/New York, N.Y.) and Washington freshman Markelle Fultz (DeMatha Catholic H.S./Upper Marlboro, Md.) each contributed 14 points; and Matt Coleman III (Oak Hill Academy/Norfolk, Va.) tallied 10 points.

P.J. Washington had 10 rebounds for the Americans and Trae Young dished 5 assists.

"I thought we played pretty good in our first game," said Porter Jr. "There were a lot of areas for improvement, but I thought we played hard."

"I thought our guys played with really good energy," said USA U18 and University of Texas head coach Shaka Smart. "We had typical first-game jitters - a lot of execution mistakes and some defensive break downs from a lack of communication, but the energy was really good. And I thought as the game went on, our guys really settled in and played together."

The Americans play the Virgin Islands on Wednesday.

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IMG_0049Christian David, the 6-foot-7 Class of 2017 wing from Vermont Academy, has cut his list to five schools.

David is down to Butler, Creighton, Miami, Oregon and Pittsburgh, Vermont Academy coach Alex Popp told SNY.tv.

David took an official visit to Creighton in June and will take one or two more in August, a source said.

"Christian David is exceptionally versatile on the basketball court," Popp said. "As I said on your Podcast last year, his best asset is his passing. He is a knock down shooter and he finishes above the rim. In addition, he is a guy who can guard multiple positions."

"Shooting, scoring, and defending is one thing, but his ability to pass and make his teammates better is his biggest strength," said Shane Bascoe, David's trainer with CIA Bounce.

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 (Jon Lopez)
(Jon Lopez)

ARDSLEY, N.Y. -- Playing alongside Mohamed Bamba, Quade Green, Brandon Randolph and Cole Anthony, it may be easy to overlook Walter Whyte on the PSA Cardinals.

But if not for the 6-foot-5 Whyte, the New York team probably doesn't make the finals of the Peach Jam last week.

The small forward from the St. Luke's School (CT) hit two foul shots to put the Cardinals up for good by one point with 15.6 seconds left to cap a comeback from 20 points down.

"Really, Walt should be up here [with the media] because he did all that," Green told reporters.

But Whyte's talents are not lost on the college coaches who have been monitoring him the last two weeks. St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli was the latest to offer Whyte a scholarship after watching him on Sunday at the Elevate Hoops event.

"They've been watching me for a while," Whyte said of St. Joe's. "They've been watching me since last spring and Coach Martelli's been coming out a lot more."

A strong student, Whyte also holds offers from places like Yale, Penn, Davidson, Northeastern and Monmouth.

"I don't have any definite list," he said. "After the AAU season, I'll cut my list, probably to 10."

In the meantime, he has developed his jump shot to the point where coaches like Martelli believe Whyte can play in the A-10 or above.

"I can pass pretty well and I've been working on my jump shot," he said. "It's improved a lot, and I can gt to the rim pretty well."

With Bamba and Green off with the USA U18 team in Chile and Randolph sitting out to rest for Las Vegas, Whyte was able to showcase his game more this past weekend.

"It's now my time to show coaches what I can do," he said. "I can score the ball a lot more and I can really play."

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Wendell Carter Jr., who recently won a gold medal with the USA U17 team and was named to the All-Star Five Team at the U17 World Championship in Spain, has cut his list to eight schools.

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The 6-foot-10 Carter Jr. is down to North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Arizona, Kentucky, Georgia, Duke, Harvard and Cal.

Duke remains the favorite for Carter Jr., who continues to talk with fellow Class of 2017 star Gary Trent Jr. about playing together in college.

Mohamed Bamba is also in the mix for joining the two at the next level.

"We talk about it here and there," Trent Jr. said at the Peach Jam. "Me and Wendell seriously, but Mo joining us, that's a possibility as well, too."

Harvard is among the schools also recruiting both Carter Jr. and Bamba.

"It could happen, but it's not a package deal," Bamba said. "We talk, we're friends and we joke around a lot but it's not a package deal. He's doing his recruitment and I'm doing my recruitment."

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Andrew Platek, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Northfield Mount Hermon (MA) and the Albany City Rocks, pulled the trigger for North Carolina on Monday.

Platek also held offers from numerous other high-majors, including Davidson and Stanford.

"Carolina is getting a winner," City Rocks coach Jimmy Hart told SNY.tv. "Andrew will give them that most Desired element of '3 and D.' Not only is he physically tough, he's mentally as tough as they come. He can score In a variety of ways and obviously gives the Tar Heels that floor spacer that they covet.

"He has had great success in the best two college prepatory leagues in the country., the New England Prep League and the Nike EYBL. This bodes well for his continued success in the ACC. I would never put a ceiling on anything that young man can do because he has broken through every one that has been put above him and I have no doubt he will play a big role in four great runs in the NCAA Tournament."

Platek averaged 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists last season at NMH, which won the regular season and postseason NEPSAC AA championship and finished 28-8. He made 86 three-pointers, shooting 38 percent from deep.

"Andrew obviously brings an elite ability to shoot the ball, but his competitiveness and desire to be a great teammate are on equal ground," NMH coach John Carroll told SNY.tv.

"He is a gym rat, working on mastering his strengths while bringing up his overall skill package. He has learned to be an efficient scorer having played on a NEPSAC championship team at NMH that could have as many as 14 division 1 players on it."

Platek, who joins point guard Jalek Felton in UNC's 2017 recruiting class, discussed his visit to UNC on a recent blog on ZAGSBLOG:

UNC was up first on the 13th. We arrived around 10:30 and were met by Coach C.B. McGrath outside the Dean Dome. The first thing that struck me was how big the campus was. After we met with Coach Roy Williams the first time, Coach McGrath took us around in a golf cart and I saw what the whole campus had to offer. I've been there before when I was younger but never to this extent. After the tour I met with Jonas Sahratian, their strength coach and got an in-depth look into their basketball facilities. Everything about their basketball facilities was top notch, you could tell it was the biggest sport on campus. After meeting all of the coaches and talking to Coach Williams again, I got to play with their guys later that night. It was incredible, I was playing against Raymond Felton, Reggie Bullock, Tyler Zeller, and Kendall Marshall while playing with Kennedy Meeks, Nate Britt, Justin Jackson, and Joel Berry. It was a great way to cap off an amazing visit. I was very impressed with the coaching staff as well as the facilities campus they have there. North Carolina made a lasting impression on my family and me.

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Eli Brooks picked up an offer from his "dream school" of Villanova, but plans to weigh his options going forward.

"I could see myself there but I'm going to sit down and think about it," the 6-foot-1 Class of 2017 point guard from Spring Grove (Pa.) High School and the Jersey Shore Warriors AAU program told SNY.tv on Monday.

Asked if he will visit again, Brooks said, "Possibly, I have already been on campus and played with the guys."

Brooks recently visited Ohio State, Michigan and Villanova, all of which came aboard after a strong spring on the AAU circuit.

The national-champion Wildcats, who are located approximately 100 miles west from Spring Grove, are intriguing, he previously told SNY.tv.

"My dad's a North Carolina fan and I'm a Villanova fan, so we had a good time watching that game," Brooks said at the recent Elevate Hoops event at Philadelphia University.

"Villanova is my dream school. Villanova has been my dream school since I was real young."

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Kobe Paras, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Los Angeles (CA) Cathedral, committed to Creighton on Sunday and will suit up for the Big East school as a freshman in 2016-17.

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A native of the Phllippines, Paras initially committed to UCLA but withdrew from school in June after reportedly not meeting the school's academic standards.

Paras, a three-star recruit, will join 6-3 point guard Davion Mintz as the incoming freshmen for Creighton. The Bluejays also get 6-3 guard Marcus Foster and 6-11 center Justin Patton eligible.

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Adam Zagoria and Josh Newman are back with another episode of The 4 Quarters Podcast.

First up, Evan Daniels of Scout.com returns to the show to talk recruiting, including recent commits Michael Porter, Eli Brooks, and Andrew Platek, plus other prospects in play for 2017. Then, Rob Engemann, CEO of Elevate Hoops, calls in to chat about their big events in Philly, New York, and AC.

Later, Adam and Josh make the full rounds of USA Basketball, covering the U17 and U18 squads as well as Carmelo Anthony and the National Team.

Rundown:

1st Quarter: Evan Daniels (01:40)
2nd Quarter: Rob Engemann (10:50)
3rd Quarter: USA Youth Teams (17:45)
4th Quarter: USA National Team (23:40)

Tags: Adam Zagoria

 (MUSTAFA HOOTEN )
(MUSTAFA HOOTEN )

ARDSLEY, N.Y. - Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell and assistant Jay Young spent Sunday recruiting younger players at the Elevate Hoops event here, but are also very excited about the new players they recently added.

Pikiell says newcomers Matt Bullock, Cândido Sá, and Issa Thiam are "multi-positional" guys who should help Rutgers as it continues to try to move up the ranks in the Big Ten Conference.

"All three of them can pass, shoot and dribble," Pikiell told SNY.tv. "They're all very athletic. Matt Bullock is a multi-position guy. Issa is a multi-position guy. I think he can play the 3, the 2 and the 1. He's 6-9, he's a really good shooter. Cândido is 6-9 1/2 with a long wingspan and he can really shoot the ball. And he's a shot-blocker. He can play the 4, the 5, the 3 even a little bit. He's got 3 skills, he's a multi-position guy.

"They've all been working hard, the whole group, but the three new guys give us tremendous length and tremendous athleticism. They're all multi-position, which is good for us because when your roster's not that deep, you want those guys that you can move around."

The 2015-16 Union County Player of the Year, Bullock completed his career at Roselle Catholic with two Tournament of Champions titles, three Non-Public B crowns and four sectional trophies under head coach Dave Boff. As a senior, the 6-4 forward averaged 11.6 points per game to earn First Team All-State and First Team All-Non Public accolades.

A noted big game performer, Bullock posted 26 points and 11 rebounds against Linden, 16 points and five rebounds versus Montverde (Fla.), 22 points and 10 rebounds against Huntington Prep (W.V.) and 19 points and 14 rebounds versus the Patrick School last season. The No. 13-ranked prospect in New Jersey according to ESPN, he competed on the AAU circuit with Sports U.

Though there has been some question about what position he is best suited for, Pikiell says Bullock can play the 2 and the 3.

"He handles the ball," Pikiell said. "If we go small ball, I can play him at the 4 a little bit. He can guard 4s, he's strong enough."

Coming from his background, Pikiell said that helps, too.

"I think that helps tremendously," the coach said. "He's got a little edge to him, he really thinks he can play. And that comes from confidence from the kind of schedule they play, and the kind of program he comes from."

Pikiell mentioned that Bullock is getting his body in shape with the strength and conditioning staff, while Thiam "has to gain weight."

"There's always challenges," he said. "Some gotta gain some [weight], some gotta lose some."

Sá ranked second nationally among junior college players last season with 123 blocked shots, an average of 3.8 per-game, to earn All-Region XIV South Zone honors at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas under head coach Scott Gernander. In addition to leading his league in rejections, the 6-9 forward averaged 9.8 points and 7.6 rebounds to help San Jac to a 22-10 overall record and a semifinal berth in the Region XIV tournament.

A native of Lisbon, Portugal, Sá scored in double figures in 16 of 32 games last season, including a season-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting at Jacksonville College. He had five or more blocks eleven times, including nine rejections on two occasions.

Thiam averaged 14 points and eight rebounds as a senior in 2015-16 at Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville under head coach Shaun Wiseman. A three-star prospect according to ESPN, Rivals and 247 Sports, he was the No. 13-ranked recruit in Florida according to ESPN. Thiam was previously enrolled at the Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain under director Rob Orellana, where he was a teammate of Shaquille Doorson.

A 6-9 forward who competed on the AAU circuit for the Jacksonville Warriors, Thiam becomes the third RU player from Dakar, Senegal, joining Ibrahima Diallo and former team captain Hamady Ndiaye (2006-10).

"I'm really excited about those guys," Pikiell said. "They're still freshmen, they got a long ways to go."

Meantime, Rutgers returns guards Corey Sanders, Nigel Johnson and Mike Williams.

"They've been in the gym working, excited," he said. "They're taking on some good leadership roles. They're defending, which I'm excited about, so they've been good. All our veterans have really bought into the weight program. Our workouts have been real competitive and everybody's healthy, knock on wood"

RECRUITING UPDATE

On the recruiting front, Rutgers watched 6-8 Class of 2018 PSA Cardinals big man Mamadou Doucoure on Sunday. In the Class of 2017, they are focusing on point guard Jose Alvarado, guard Geo Baker, forward Hasahn French and Makhtar Gueye.

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WE-R1 and Sports U captured the 17U and 16U titles, respectively, at the UAA Finals on Saturday in Cartersville, Ga.

Trevon Duval managed just seven points, eight boards and five assists in the final after averaging 20.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game on the weekend.

Teammate Eric Ayala, who averaged 20.8 points and shot 42 percent from three during the UAA Finals, scored a game-high 20 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished a pair of assists.

"Everybody is ready to step up," he told the UAA site. "This is why this is my favorite team because anyone can step up at any given time."

Duval, the 6-foot-4 Class of 2017 point guard who is still seeking a high school for his final season, said he plans to cut his list to 10 schools around the Under Armour Elite 24 Game on Aug. 20.

In the 16U championship, it was a battle of two New Jersey-based teams as Sports U beat Team Rio, 50-47, behind Naz Reid's 15 points and 7 rebounds and Jahvon Quinerly's 14.

Reid was coming off a leg injury last week in Philadelphia and missed the first game at the UAA finals.

"I stayed positive and I knew my teammates had my back," Reid said.

"He definitely came up big," Quinerly said. "Fresh off an injury, I didn't expect him to play that well, but I'm proud of him."

Along with teammates Louis King, Luther Muhammad and Atiba Taylor, the Sports U "Fab Five" holds group offers from Seton Hall, Rutgers and UConn.

Quinerly listed Seton Hall, Virginia, Villanova, UConn, St. John's, California and Stanford among the schools working hard.

Kentucky coach John Calipari was one of many coaches on hand this weekend to watch the 6-foot-9 Reid, who was coming back from a leg injury last weekend in Philadelphia.

Photo: Kelly Kline/ UA

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D.J. Harvey, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard from DeMatha Catholic (MD), has set three official visits for this fall.

"I have set three official visits to Texas, Louisville and Notre Dame," he told MADEHoops. "Texas will take place August 26 to the 28th, Louisville from September 2nd to the 5th and Notre Dame from September 9th to the 11th."

Harvey is working with a list of 10 schools and told the site six are working the hardest for him.

"Texas, Notre Dame, Duke, Louisville, UCLA and UConn are recruiting me the hardest of my list of schools," he said.

He plans to cut to five at some point before the school year.

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Khalid Moore, a 6-foot-6 wing from New York powerhouse Archbishop Molloy and the NY Rens, was one of the breakout 16U players at the Peach Jam.

Moore went for 23 points and 8 rebounds in a win over Team Melo in front of 50 high-major coaches.

In addition to the offers he had from Iona and Seton Hall, Moore picked up new ones from Miami and VCU and strong interest from Syracuse with an invite to their elite camp.

He received a last minute invite to the Victor Oladipo camp but because of travel and scheduling issues will be in Ardsley, NY this week playing 17U with the RENs. Another 15-20 high-major coaches are expected to watch him next week in Las Vegas at the Fab 48.

"Khalid is a top-50 level recruit but what really separates him is his character," Rens coach Chris Alesi told SNY.tv. "He's a great teammate, carries himself the right way at all times and is an A student at Molloy, one of the toughest schools around. The sky is the limit for Khalid."

Going forward, Moore will play alongside 7-foot Class of 2018 big man Moses Brown and 6-2 Class of 2019 point guard Cole Anthony on a loaded Molloy team. Brown recently added offers from USC and SMU.

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CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- Led by the tandem of Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine, the Team Rio 16U squad played for an Under Armour Finals championship on Saturday after knocking off Team Thad on Friday night behind 22 points from Antoine.

Against Sports U, they came up short, 50-47, in the championship on Sautrday.

"It was a huge win," Lewis told SNY.tv of the semifinal victory. "They beat us back in LA, so we knew what we were going to do when we came out. We started up a bit slow, but Bryan and Jalen kept us going, I woke up in the second half, and we did what we were supposed to do. We all played our part and pulled out the win."

Not only did Sports U and Rio play in their age group, Trevon Duval and We-R1 will be competing for the championship in the 17U division.

"It means a lot," Antoine said. "To have three Tri-State area teams in championship games, it means that Jersey has a lot of up and coming talent, so it really means a lot to all of us."

Indiana's Tom Crean, St. John's Chris Mullin, Georgetown's John Thompson III and many other high level coaches watched Lewis and Antoine this weekend, but one coach really stuck out to Antoine.

"I'm going to be honest with you," Antoine said. "Whenever any coach comes up and watches our game I'm usually pretty chill. But when coach Cal [John Calipari] came up, not going to lie, Jalen Gaffney and I saw him come up to watch us, that was the first time I've ever been starstruck by a coach."

When asked if having high level coaches like that come out and watch him play, Lewis says that it's just motivation, knowing that he's doing the right things.

"As far as my work ethic is concerned, it definitely has," Lewis said. "It means that all of the work that we have put in together, it means that we are on the right track. We are taking our training to the next level, and we are looking forward to seeing where that goes."

With hundreds of coaches watching their games over the past couple days and Calipari watching on Thursday night, Team Director Brian Klatsky said that Kentucky as well as Duke have said that they will keep tabs on both Lewis and Antoine.

"They have both reached out during the season," Klatsky said. "They both said they have their eyes on them. Kentucky was here [Thursday] and [Friday] It's so early in the process, we are just trying to keep them grounded. Helping them doing really well in school. Most programs aren't looking at rising sophomores, so we are just trying to keep them focused."

As for representing the state, Klatsky says that while many say the talent level might be low in the Tri-State area, the youngsters playing for championships are showing that is just not quite the case.

"There are a lot of people down on the talent in the New York/Jersey area," Klatsky said. "When you break down the draft with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kyrie [Irving], Karl Towns. We are based in Central Jersey and when you have two five star guys like these guys and they're focused on carrying the torch for the area, the area has a lot of talent. We have eight kids up here with us. They're all going to play in college. We have a 15U Team playing 16U, we are playing up. I know it's early in the process, but this is big for us."

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Michael Porter Jr. officially committed to Washington on Friday, just as he and his USA Basketball U18 teammates were leaving for the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Chile.

Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar is Porter Jr.'s Godfather and Romar recently hired Michael Porter Sr. as an assistant coach. Romar and the entire staff looked on proudly last Sunday after Porter Jr. and MoKan Elite won the Peach Jam championship with a 93-65 win over the PSA Cardinals.

"Talking to my dad and Romar, I knew it was where I wanted to go," Porter told ESPN after Tweeting out his commitment.

"My dad told me it was the best place for me to get to the next level," Porter Jr. added. "I made it clear I wanted to be one-and-done if possible and he told me it was an ideal spot to do that. I trust my dad and I trust Coach Romar."

Washington, which hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament under Romar since 2011, could now go a third straight year with one-and-dones. Freshmen forward Marquese Chriss was the No. 8 pick by the Sacramento Kings and freshman guard Dejounte Murray went No. 29 to the San Antonio Spurts.

Meantime, incoming wing guard Markelle Fultz is the projected No. 2 pick in 2017 per DraftExpress.com.

Porter Jr. is projected by one mock draft site as the No. 6 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Fultz and Porter Jr. and Porter Jr. have been the two most impressive players at the USA U18 practices.

"Markelle Fultz and Michael Porter are outstanding offensive players," one NBA scout said. "Fultz and Porter can flat out score the ball."

Washington also added point guard Blake Harris in the 2017 class and remains in the mix for Trae Young, Porter's MoKan Elite teammate and the co-MVP of the Peach Jam.

Still, Young is also considering Oklahoma, Kentucky and Kansas, among others.

"Trae wants to win a gold medal first and then decide on that stuff," his father, Rayford Young, told SNY.tv after Porter's commitment.

Porter Jr. also told ESPN he plans to recruit 6-11 Mohamed Bamba to Washington. Bamba plans to cut to 10 schools next month and Duke, Kentucky and Harvard are among the schools hot on his trail.

"At some point in August, I'm not sure when," he said.

 

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