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Sep 26, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons (25) during media day at the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Sep 26, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons (25) during media day at the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

Ben Simmons has a broken bone in his right foot and the No. 1 overall pick could miss up to 8 weeks, according to initial reports.

That would put his return in late November.

Simmons was injured Friday during the final training camp scrimmage at Stockton University in New Jersey. The Sixers said Simmons rolled an ankle, and X-rays and an MRI revealed a fractured fifth metatarsal bone.

The Australian forward played at LSU last season. He missed time early during his stay with the Tigers while waiting for an ankle injury to heal, and also left an NBA Summer League contest in July after suffering cramps in both legs.

Simmons' injury is the latest blow to a franchise that has been beset in recent years by injuries to their players. Joel Embiid, the No. 3 overall pick in 2014, has yet to play because of surgeries on his right foot. Nerlens Noel missed his rookie year in 2013 with a torn ACL. Jahlil Okafor had his rookie season cut short with season-ending knee surgery on his right knee. He sat out practices this week because he still experienced soreness in the knee.

It's become a bit of a theme in Philly the last few seasons, ending with last season's 10-72 mark that earned them the No. 1 pick.

Simmons became an instant fan favorite before he ever played a game and expectations were high that he was the cornerstone player that could eventually help turn the Sixers into playoff contenders.

"It means a lot, just to see people wearing my jersey around Philly, it's kind of weird," he said this week. "I'm just looking forward to hopefully giving back to Philly."

He'll have to wait.

Simmons was scheduled to start for the Sixers in their preseason opener Tuesday against Boston. Simmons, the 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward out of LSU, was Philadelphia's first No. 1 pick since they drafted Allen Iverson in 1996. He led the Sixers to their last NBA finals appearance in 2001.

Coach Brett Brown planned to use Simmons all over the court, even at point guard. He impressed his teammates with just one week of NBA training camp.

"I never played with somebody," like him, forward Dario Saric said at training camp. "Everybody puts pressure on him but I think he'll handle this."

Simmons averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists, the only SEC player ever to finish in the top five in all three categories. But the Tigers were only 19-14, failing to make the NCAA Tournament.

Simmons, who grew up in Australia before moving to Florida for three years of high school at Montverde Academy, signed a $20 million sneaker deal with Nike before the draft.

He never demonstrated he could make jump shots consistently, rarely shooting from outside and going only 1 of 3 from 3-point range all season. He also exhibited an inclination to pass, rather than create his own shot, in the late stages of close games.

Simmons also had academic issues that made him ineligible for the Wooden Award, which is presented to the nation's top college player.


WEST POINT, N.Y. -- The Knicks' decision to hold training camp at West Point for a third straight year has inspired split opinions within the team on matters related to current events.

Veteran Joakim Noah came out Friday and announced he had skipped a team dinner with Cadets on Thursday night because he's opposed to war, while rookie Marshall Plumlee, a member of the Army reserves, told me he thinks it was a great idea to hold camp at West Point.

"It's hard for me a little bit," Noah said Friday afternoon, according to Newsday. "I have a lot of respect for the kids who are out here fighting. But it's hard for me to understand why we have to go to war, why kids have to kill kids around the world? So I have mixed feelings about being here.

"I'm very proud of this country. I love America, but I just don't understand kids killing kids around the world."

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said the franchise understood and supported Noah's actions.

"Well, that's his right," Hornacek said. "He wants to be a part of the team and do everything the team is doing. He just didn't feel comfortable. We're not going to pressure him into doing that. We had the speaker who I thought was fantastic. I told him, maybe we can get a little copy, if there's a copy of the speech, just so he can hear some of it. That's his right.

"In all his stuff that he does against gun violence and all that, he just didn't feel comfortable, so that's plenty fine with us."

Noah is a respected NBA veteran, a former NBA Defensive Player of the Year and the son of former French Open tennis champion Yannick Noah.

Meantime, Plumlee is a rookie who has not expressed strong opinions one way or the other, but he did say he enjoyed being around the Cadets at West Point.

"It's exciting for me and I know firsthand how much the Army has helped me grow and develop as a basketball player and as a leader so to be exposed to the training grounds where West Point is making our world's best and brightest leaders," Plumlee told me. "There's so much discipline and hard work going on here, I know it's going to benefit our team. It benefited me. For us to be exposed to this I think was a great decision by our front office."

Plumlee has also Tweeted support for the New York Police Dept. in the aftermath of the recent terrorist bombing in Chelsea.

Meantime, Plumlee has great respect for Noah, who is helping him adjust to his rookie season in the NBA.

Between America's fight with global terrorism and a spate of police killings of African-Americans here at home, it's no surprise that West Point has become a flashpoint for different opinions on key issues.

Meantime, Carmelo Anthony has said the team is still considering an appropriate action in terms of opposing social injustice here at home the way San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has.

"We want to do it in the right way," Anthony said at Media Day of the Knicks' plans to raise awareness. "Whatever we do, we want to do it as a collective group. I don't know what that is yet. We'll figure that out. But we want to do it all together. We want everybody to feel a part of it.

"We want everybody to have a right to make their own decisions about what they want to do. And we'll go from there. Everybody sees what's going on out there in the sports world and what everybody is talking about."

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New York, NY - August 18, 2016: Under Armour Elite 24 (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline)
New York, NY - August 18, 2016: Under Armour Elite 24 (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline)

With the addition of Trevon Duval to the list of visitors for Kansas' "Late Night in the Phog" this weekend, the Jayhawks have a highly impressive list of recruits.

Kansas is also hosting guards Tremont Waters and Collin Sexton, wing Troy Brown and forwards Billy Preston and Cody Riley.

The 6-foot-3 Duval is the No. 3-ranked prospect in the Class of 2017 by Scout.com, Sexton is No. 9, Brown No. 11, Preston No. 16, Riley No. 30 and Waters No. 36.

Duval, who recently transferred to Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy, has a list of nine schools that appears to be relatively fluid. He's considering Kansas, Maryland, Villlanova and Oregon, among others.

"I'm looking forward to visiting all the schools really," he told me last month at the Elite 24 Game. I'm want to see the different campuses and the different lifestyles on the East Coast and the West Coast and even in the South, really."

Both Jamal Mashburn and Tony Delk told SNY.tv that it's only a matter of time before Duval ends up in the NBA.

 

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Tags: Kansas , Trevon Duval , Adam Zagoria

Dec 5, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo talks to crowd after a game against the Binghamton Bearcats at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Carter)
Dec 5, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo talks to crowd after a game against the Binghamton Bearcats at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Carter)

Xavier Tillman, the 6-foot-8 power forward from Grand Rapids Christian (MI) High School, committed to Michigan State over Marquette and Purdue.

"I just feel that Michigan State is the place where I can best reach my goals as a basketball player and as a student," he told Scout.com 

Tillman joins Jaren Jackson as the second commit in Michigan State's 2017 Class. According to 247Sports, Michigan State now has the 21st ranked recruiting class in 2017.

 

O'SHAE BRISSETT CUTS TO 4

O'Shae Brissett, a 6-9 small forward from Orangeville Prep in Canada, announced he has cut his list to four schools.

Brissett is down to USC, Oregon, Syracuse and Memphis.

He has already visited USC and will take officials to Syracuse (Oct. 22) and Oregon (Oct. 29), with Memphis TBD.

"I am extremely excited for the season and for what the future holds for Oshae, he's a great kid, with a terrific work ethic, who has embraced taking on a leadership role," said AI head coach Chris Cobbina, "there is no one more deserving of everything he has earned. Getting the opportunity to work with him daily has been great as I've been extremely impressed by his approach to the process of improving his game daily and helping his teammates." 

 

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With the recent passing of John Robic's father, Kentucky coach John Calipari has officially elevated Joel Justus to assistant coach and said Justus will primarily focus on recruiting younger players.

Robic has been named special assistant to the head coach.

Calipari also said he did not envision his program "offering scholarships to freshmen and sophomores."

Justus has been out on the road recruiting in a temporary capacity since June.

Justus, for example, scouted Class of 2019 stars Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis of the Ranney (N.J.) School and Team Rio all summer, and also recently hit an open gym at Hudson (N.J.) Catholic for Class of 2018 guys Jahvon Quinerly, Louis King and Luther Muhammad.

Calipari broke it down on his CoachCal.com website:

"Joel's been with us for two years now and has brought a lot to the program. His analytics strengths are great and he's got great ideas. Now this gives him an opportunity to be involved in the recruiting. Seeing him on the road recruiting over the last couple of months showed me that we need to give him an opportunity to do his thing. I think this could be one of his strengths. His ability to connect with players and spend his full time and effort, especially on underclassmen, will give us a head start in what we're doing.

"I had my staff organized in that we were all recruiting older players because we were recruiting a new team each year. It's hard to get ahead of yourself when you're trying to sign a current class and replace as many guys as we normally do, but this temporary move opened up my eyes in that we probably had it wrong. We need one guy focused on the younger guys. We became so fixated on trying to replace players each year that we weren't touching some of the younger kids and were coming in late. Because of that, just about every other program has been ahead of us on underclassmen recruiting, and it has affected some of the kids who we weren't able to touch until later in the process. That's my fault. I believe Joel will greatly help in that area and fills a void.

"Now with that said, I don't see us offering scholarships to freshmen and sophomores. Ultimately what we do is different than other schools, and if you really want to come here, in most cases you're going to have to let the process run. I just don't want to be put in a position where I'm walking in on a kid for the first time having been defined for two years by four other programs who are panicked by the prospect of us getting involved. I want to make sure we're on top of every young kid in the country, especially the ones that dream about Kentucky. That will be part of Joel's primary focus, and he's ready for it."

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WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Lance Thomas knows all about the Plumlee family, having played alongside Miles and Mason Plumlee on the 2009-10 Duke team that won an NCAA championship.

Now the youngest Plumlee, 7-foot Marshall, is Thomas' teammate with the Knicks as both players look to fortify a revamped front line highlighted by the signing of free agent Joakim Noah.

"Yeah, I knew Marshall, I remember when Marshall was in high school," the 6-8 Thomas told me Thursday at Knicks' training camp at West Point. "He was coming to visit his brothers, who I played with, Miles and Mason. It's very good to have him here."

Thomas cares less that Plumlee is a fellow Dukie, and more about the fact that he's a hard worker and a winner. Both players won national championships at Duke.

"It feels good to have someone here who I know brings it at every opportunity he gets and he's also a winner," Thomas said. "I had the opportunity to win a championship with his brothers and he eventually did it for himself."

Yes, Plumlee was part of Duke's 2015 NCAA championship team -- the fifth for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski -- that also featured fellow NBA players Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones.

He's happy to be reunited with a former Duke product in Thomas.

"You hear about his legacy when you're at Duke and you hear about all the great things he did and it was like, 'Man, I would've loved to have played with that guy,' and now I'm getting a chance to play with him," Plumlee said.

Plumlee also finds himself playing alongside some huge NBA names like Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose and Noah. Noah won two NCAA titles at Florida and Anthony led Syracuse to its only title in 2003, meaning Noah, Anthony, Thomas and Plumlee have combined to win five NCAA championships.

"It's really exciting and I'm just trying to be consistent every day with my energy and enthusiasm," Plumlee said. "It's easy to be enthusiastic when you're playing with guys like Joakim and Lance Thomas, really setting the effort level high for the effort that should be brought every day."

Plumlee has been playing with the second unit and is also getting tutelage from Knicks associate head coach Kurt Rambis.

"I'm getting to take lessons from Coach Rambis, from Coach [Jeff] Hornacek, you have Phil Jackson talking to you," Plumlee said. "[Jackson] will let me know when I screw up or do something good. They're a wealth of knowledge. It's really cool to be in a program surrounded by those kind of greats."

It's early in training camp but Hornacek likes what he sees from Plumlee, who is in the mix for minutes at the backup center spot behind Noah. Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle O'Quinn will also play the five, and 6-11 rookie Willy Hernangomez is in the mix, too.

"Just power and energy, he's loud with his talking," Hornacek said of Plumlee. "You probably could hear it from over here. He's strong, he's kind of like a bull in there. He gets offensive rebounds, he gives great energy when he gets out there on the court."

Plumlee has a three-year deal where he makes north of $500,000 this year, although Hornacek did point out that even those 15 players with guaranteed contracts aren't necessarily safe.

"We have a lot of guys under contract," Hornacek said. "And they're all fighting for a place. No one's guaranteed. The Knicks organization, I don't think they're afraid to cut a guy with a guaranteed contract if there's another guy that's better. So these guys are competing every day and there may be one or two of these guys that can make it, so you'll never know."

Back in July, Coach K told me that Plumlee would be the "perfect backup center for the Knicks."

"First of all he's older, he's 23," Coach K said. "He's been a five-year player.

"He brings fundamentals and he's a leader. He's going to be an Army officer. He talks on defense. He'll screen, he'll play defense he'll rebound. And he doesn't need the ball. He just wants to make other people better. And they'll never be a practice where he's not enthusiastic. He's a perfect backup."

As for the Army connection, Plumlee is serving in the Reserves, so he feels right at home this week at West Point.

"It's exciting for me and I know firsthand how much the Army has helped me grow and develop as a basketball player and as a leader so to be exposed to the training grounds where West Point is making our world's best and brightest leaders," Plumlee said. "There's so much discipline and hard work going on here, I know it's going to benefit our team. It benefited me. For us to be exposed to this I think was a great decision by our front office."

As for Thomas, he signed a four-year, $27-million deal in early July to return to the Knicks. He emerged as a key cog under former coaches Derek Fisher and Rambis and averaged 8.2 points and 2.2 rebounds before suffering a non-contact knee injury in March.

Thomas returned to the Knicks because he wants a chance to win.

"I told him at the end of the season don't leave us," Porzingis said. "That's the type of guy who you want [to win]. He's not the guy that everybody adores but he's the guy who is going to do the work every night. He's a warrior."

Said Thomas: "I already knew in my mind I wanted to be back. I want to win in New York. I think that was pretty obvious, even before I signed. I wanted to win here and the organization obviously wants to move with the moves that they made."

With the additions of Rose, Noah, Courtney Lee, Brandon Jennings, and his fellow Dukie Plumlee, Thomas likes the Knicks' chances to compete at a high level.

"Absolutely," he said. "I really in my heart feel that way. I feel like we have guys who are really hungry to win. Everyboby on this team has pretty much proven themselves in the NBA, so it's not a matter of trying to prove anything individually we're this or that. I think collectively what we have together is we all want to win."

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Tags: Duke University , Adam Zagoria

New York, NY - August 18, 2016: Under Armour Elite 24 (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline)
New York, NY - August 18, 2016: Under Armour Elite 24 (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline)

A parade of high-major coaches has come through Putnam (CT) Science Academy in recent weeks to recruit Hamidou Diallo, maybe the most explosive player in the Class of 2017.

UConn's Kevin Ollie, UNLV's Marvin Menzies and Arizona's Sean Miller were all in this week, while Indiana's Tom Crean, Kentucky's John Calipari, Kansas' Bill Self and assistants from Syracuse and Arizona State have all been through recently.

The 6-foot-6 Queens, N.Y., native has yet to set any official visits, but will take an unofficial visit to Syracuse this weekend, a source said.

"He's still taking it slow, day-by-day," Putnam head coach Tom Espinosa said by phone. "He still hasn't really cut a list or anything. There's not tons and tons of schools recruiting him at this point, maybe between 7-10 schools that are really recruiting him now. But he's still planning on making the decision later on."

That would presumably be a decision on which college to attend, although Diallo could also go directly to the NBA in 2017, as first reported here more than a month ago.

Still, Diallo told me last month he wants to go to college and he reiterated that Thursday on Twitter.

UConn has been working as hard or harder than any other school to keep Diallo in the same state for college as he is for high school.

"They come once a week like they're allowed to," Espinosa said. "They want him, close to New York and play with his boy [UConn freshman] Mamadou [Diarra]. I think those are some of his big selling points."

Kentucky has also made Diallo a major priority for 2017, with Calipari visiting him early on at Putnam to show his interest level.

"It's kind of what they all say, I guess," Espinosa said. "He'd be a good fit and they want him."

Asked if he will visit there, Diallo told me last month, "I haven't really thought about visits but I'll probably visit Kentucky."

Syracuse has also been in the mix for some time now.

"Yeah, they were up maybe a week and a half ago," Espinosa said. "They love Hami, they want Hami and I know they've been recruiting him pretty hard so I know Hami definitely has some interest in them for sure.'

As for Arizona, Miller and assistant Book Richardson came East this week to see Diallo, along with 6-11 Nick Richards at St. Patrick's (N.J.) and 6-6 wing Lonnie Walker of Reading (PA).

"I think he's going to be a good fit almost anywhere because he's an explosive player," Espinosa said. "He's 6-6, he's long, he's athletic. When he gets a little more skilled, he's going to be extremely good, you know?

"Even better, he's good now. But he's going to be a special player when he becomes a bit more skilled and I think he'd be a great fit at any of these schools, to be honest with you."

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Tags: Hamidou Diallo , Adam Zagoria

New York, NY - August 18, 2016: Under Armour Elite 24 (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline)
New York, NY - August 18, 2016: Under Armour Elite 24 (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline)

Here's a look towards this weekend's recruiting visits and other news. 

**Nick Richards, the 6-foot-11 big man from St. Patrick's (N.J.) High School, will take his first official visit to Kentucky this weekend before heading to Arizona next weekend. He's also considering Syracuse, UConn and Indiana.

**Trevon Duval, the 6-3 point guard from IMG (FL) Academy, will visit Kansas this weekend for "Late Night in the Phog." Duval has not planned any official visits yet and is down to nine schools including Kansas, Maryland, Villanova, and Oregon, among others.

**Tremont Waters, the 5-11 point guard from Notre Dame (CT) High School, will take his fourth official visit to Kansas this weekend for "Late Night in the Phog." Waters has previously taken visits to Indiana (Sept. 23), Kentucky (Sept. 16), and Georgetown (Sept. 9). His final list also includes Duke, UConn, and Yale.

**Collin Sexton, the 6-2, 175-pound point guard from Pebblebrook (GA) High School, will take his fourth official visit to Kansas this weekend for "Late Night in the Phog." Sexton has taken official visits to Alabama (Sept. 9), NC State (Sept. 15), and Oklahoma State (Sept. 16). Also included in Sexton's final 10 are Villanova, UNC, Arizona, Florida, Georgia Tech, and Iowa State.

**Troy Brown Jr., the 6-7 small forward from Centennial (NV) High School, will take his fourth official visit to Kansas this weekend for "Late Night in the Phog." Brown has already taken visits to Ohio State (Sept. 2), Alabama (Sept. 9), and Oregon (Sept. 23). He also has a visit to Georgetown planned for next month (Oct. 5).

**Billy Preston, the 6-8 power forward from Oak Hill (VA) Academy takes his first official visit to Kansas this weekend for "Late Night in the Phog." Preston has no other official visits planned. He recently opened up his recruitment after focusing on a few schools.

**Cody Riley, a 6-7 power forward from Sierra Canyon (CA) High School will take his first official visit to Kansas this weekend for "Late Night in the Phog." Riley has not taken any official visits yet, but he took an unofficial to UCLA last month (Aug. 15). He recently cut his list to five: Kansas, USC, Oklahoma, UCLA and Connecticut.

**Immanuel Quickley, the 6-3 point guard from John Carroll (MD), takes an unofficial to Kansas. He will also take unofficials to Miami, Kentucky, Louisville, Virginia and Duke in the next month.

**Daejon Davis, the 6-4 combo guard from Seattle (WA) Garfield, visits Stanford after hitting Oregon last weekend. He also has visits set to Gonzaga (Oct. 7), Arizona (Oct. 14) and Washington (Oct. 21).

**Trae Young, the 6-2 point guard from Norman North (OK) High School, began his second official visit to Texas Tech on Thursday (Sept. 29-Oct. 1). Young has already taken an official to Oklahoma (Sept. 16) and plans to visit Kentucky (Oct. 14) and Kansas (Oct. 21). 

**Lonnie Walker, the 6-5 shooting guard from Reading (PA) High School, takes his first official visit to Miami (Sept. 30) this weekend. Walker has mentioned plans to take an official visit Syracuse in the future but, has not announced any dates. Walker recently cut his list of schools to five: Miami, Syracuse, Arizona, Villanova, and Kentucky. 

**Darryl Morsell, a 6-4 combo guard from Mount St. Joseph (MD) High School, will take his third official visit to Maryland this weekend (Oct. 1). Morsell has already taken visits to Notre Dame (Sept. 17) and Villanova (Sept. 24) and has plans to visit Dayton next month (Oct. 22). Morsell announced his top five of Villanova, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Maryland, and Dayton last month.

**Charles O'Bannon Jr., the 6-5 shooting guard from Bishop Gorman (NV) High School, takes his first official visit to UCLA this weekend (Sept. 30). O'Bannon is currently down to four schools and has planned visits with all of them: UCLA (Sept. 30), USC (Oct. 7), NC State (Oct. 21), and Texas (Nov. 11).

**Matt Coleman, the 6 foot, 170-pound point guard from Oak Hill (VA) Academy, takes his second official visit to Stanford this weekend (Sept. 30). Coleman took an official to Duke earlier this month (Sept. 16) and plans to visit Kansas (Oct. 14), Syracuse (Oct. 21), and Texas (Oct. 28).

**Kris Wilkes, the 6-8 small forward from North Central (IN) High School, will take his second official visit to Indiana this weekend (Oct. 30). Wilkes is currently down to five schools and has already visited Illinois (Sept. 9) and UCLA (Sept. 23). He also plans to visit Xavier (Oct. 28) and UConn (Nov. 3).

**Jamir Harris, the 6-1 shooting guard from St. Patrick's (N.J.), will take his official to Minnesota after committing to the Big Ten school last week.

**Marcus McClary, the 6-4 combo guard from St. Patrick's (N.J.), visits Monmouth this weekend.

**Chaundee Brown, a 6-5 shooting guard from The First (FL) Academy, takes his second official visit to Wake Forest this weekend (Sept. 30). Brown previously visited Kansas (Sept. 2) and has no other visits planned.

**Garrison Brooks, the 6-9 power forward from Lafayette (AL) High School, trips to Georgia this weekend for an official visit.

**Nick Claxton, a 6-9 small forward from Legacy (SC) Charter, trips to Georgia this weekend for an official visit to Georgia this weekend for an official visit (Sept. 30).

**Kimani Lawrence, a 6-7 small forward from New Hampton (N.H.) School, takes his second official visit to USC this weekend (Sept. 30). Lawrence is down to five schools and has already taken an official to Arizona State (Sept. 23). He has plans to visit Pittsburgh (Oct. 7), Florida (Oct. 14), and Texas (Oct. 21).

**Hasahn French, the 6-7 power forward from Commonwealth (NY) Academy, trips to Saint Louis this weekend for his first official visit (Sept. 30). French recently named his final four of Marquette, UNLV, Saint Louis, and Massachusetts.

**Saint Louis also hosts Blair (N.J.) Academy point guard Matt Turner, who is also considering Pittsburgh, George Washington and Santa Clara.

**Creighton commit Tyshon Alexander, the 6-4 shooting guard from Oak Hill (VA), visits his future school.

**Walter Whyte, a 6-5 small forward from St. Luke's (CT) School trips to Northeastern this weekend (Sept. 30).

**Mayan Kiir, a 6-9 power forward from Victor Rock (FL) Prep, takes his first official visit to N.C. State this weekend (Sept. 30).

**N.C. State also hosts Brewster (N.H.) Academy guard Thomas Allen, who previously visited Nebraska.

**Washington commit Blake Harris also visits campus this weekend.

 

COMMITS

**South Carolina on Thursday landed a commitment from Ibrahim Doumbia, a 6-7 small forward from Miami Country Day and the PSA Cardinals. The news was first reported by Andrew Slater of 247Sports.com.

**Auburn landed a pledge from Class of 2019 four-star power forward Jared Jones of Mableton (GA). He is Bruce Pearl's fist commit in 2019.

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 (Winslow Townson)
(Winslow Townson)

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- When Ron Baker first signed with the Knicks this summer, he was hoping to pair up with his former Wichita State teammate Cleanthony Early, the team's second-round draft pick in 2014.

"We played two years together at Wichita State," Baker told me Thursday at Knicks training camp at West Point. "At first we thought we both were going to be here."

But after Early was shot in the right leg during an attack in Queens last December, the Knicks did not bring him into training camp this year and he is currently out of the NBA.

"We were a little disapppointed that he's not here," Baker said. "I saw him a couple weeks ago playing pickup in the city but I'm not sure on his status."

That leaves the 6-foot-4 Baker as the lone former Shocker in training camp, where he's hoping to make the roster as an undrafted point guard with no guaranteed contract.

The Knicks have Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings as their top two point guards, leaving Baker and former Stanford guard Chasson Randle (also non-guaranteed) to battle it out behind them. (Veteran Sasha Vujacic, who does have a guaranteed contract, is yet another option at the point.)

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek emphasized Thursday that even though the Knicks have 15 guaranteed contracts, the franchise wouldn't hesitate to take someone without a contract who impresses during training camp.

"We have a lot of guys under contract," Hornacek said. "And they're all fighting for a place. No one's guaranteed. The Knicks organization, I don't think they're afraid to cut a guy with a guaranteed contract if there's another guy that's better. So these guys are competing every day and there may be one or two of these guys that can make it, so you'll never know."

Baker is hoping to be one of those guys.

A tough, heady player, Baker averaged 14.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists last season for a Shockers team that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, stunning Arizona along the way.

"I think I just want to be efficient," said Baker, who hit a three-pointer Thursday with the second unit. "Obviously, if they want me to play the point guard, I can. Just take care of the ball, make good decisions with the ball and take pride in my defense. And I feel if I guard the basketball and be in good position as a defender, I can help the team win."

Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall has no doubt that Baker could help the Knicks.

"First of all, he'll figure out a way to help them win," Marshall said last Friday at the Brayden Carr Clinic at Prudential Center. "And that's the bottom line. You want more points than the other team at the end of the game, and Baker does a little bit of everything very well.

"He's a natural two who can swing to the point guard position. He's got great vision in transition. We picked up our pace a lot when he became the point guard because he was so good in transition, he could make the Magic Johnson-type crosscourt, diagonal pass. He's big enough and he's strong, he's what I call 'country strong.' He's got big hips, big shoulders, big hands and he plays strong."

Picking up the pace is consistent with what Hornacek is trying to do as he attempts to move the Knicks toward the position-less basketball that has become vogue in the NBA.

Baker's situation with the Knicks mirrors his situation heading into his freshman year at Wichita State.

Like the Knicks, Wichita State had no room for him on the roster entering his freshman campaign.

"We were going to prep him or put him in junior college," Marshall said. "We knew that he was going to be a great player but we were out of scholarships."

Baker had offers from South Dakota State and Arkansas-Little Rock, but agreed to pay his way (with the help of some financial aid) and walk-on at Wichita State with the understanding that he would be guaranteed a scholarship after the first year.

The fateful conversation where Baker committed to Marshall still brings back laughs to this day.

"I'm calling him and basically I can't hear him because of the wind and I ask him to step inside but said he was inside," Marshall said. "That's how hard the wind was blowing at his friend's house. I could hear the wind indoors, and that's Western Kansas. He's tough and he's a survivor."

"Marshall didn't understand that Western Kansas and Central Kansas are like two different sides of the country, basically," Baker recalled with a laugh. "I was on the phone with him and he could hear the hail hitting my house. I was in Western Kansas and he was in Wichita, where it was sunny and he was on the golf course."

Baker impressed enough during his freshman year to earn a scholarship for each of the next four years.

"[Former Wichita State point guard] Malcolm Armstead said, 'We gotta play with this guy,'" Marshall recalled. "He's really good."

But because Baker was red-shirting his freshman year, he couldn't play until the following season.

Now even though Early is not with the Knicks, Baker has a chance to be.

If he doesn't make the team, he could end up with the Westchester Knicks, the club's D-League outfit.

"He loves the organization," Marshall said. "He's enjoying the experience and he's been getting good feedback.

"[But] there's 15 guaranteed contracts and even us in athletics in Kansas can count to 15 so somehow it's going to be difficult for him to make the team but I wouldn't bet against him."

 

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

St. John's announced Thursday that Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Mitch Richmond has been elevated to assistant coach under head coach Chris Mullin.

Richmond, a six-time NBA All-Star and five-time All-NBA selection, enters his second season with the program, previously serving as a special assistant for the 2015-16 campaign. He joins fellow assistants Matt Abdelmassih and Greg St. Jean.

Richmond effectively replaces former associate head coach Barry "Slice" Rohrssen, who officially parted ways with the program Aug. 31. Rohrssen's split with St. John's was first reported by SNY.tv in June.

The Red Storm also promoted former graduate assistant Luca Virgilio, who will serve as the assistant to the head coach. Additionally, Chris Huey has joined the St. John's staff as a graduate assistant, after most recently working as the video coordinator for the Santa Clara men's basketball team.

Richmond was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014 after playing 14 years in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Lakers. A member of the Lakers 2002 NBA Championship team, Richmond finished his NBA career with 20,497 points and had his No. 2 jersey retired by the Kings on Dec. 5, 2003 after playing seven seasons with the organization.

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Brian Bowen, the 6-foot-7 small forward from La Lumiere (IN), has trimmed his list to six schools, cutting Michigan, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, Oregon and UNLV in the process.

Bowen is down to Michigan State, Creighton, UCLA, Arizona, N.C. State and Texas.

Michigan State has long been considered the favorite in part because Bowen is cousins with former Spartans standout Jason Richardson.

"I'm not sure when I'll make my decision, but once I cut my list is when I'll start thinking a lot harder about the recruiting process," Bowen told MLive.com earlier this month. "Starting next week is when I'll really, really think about when I'll take my visits and when I'll make my decision. Once I do that, it'll lead to everything else."

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - June 15, 2016: NBPA Top 100 Camp at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, VA. (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - June 15, 2016: NBPA Top 100 Camp at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, VA. (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline)

Following a home visit Wednesday with Arizona head coach Sean Miller and assistant Book Richardson, Nick Richards will take an official visit to the Pac-12 school the weekend of Oct. 7, sources said.

The Arizona visit will mark the second official for the St. Patrick's (N.J.) big man after he takes his first to Kentucky this coming weekend.

"Yeah, Book keeps it real with me," Richards, a native of Jamaica who has only been playing organized ball for about four years, told me last month of the Arizona assistant from New York. "He's probably the only coach out of all of them that keeps it the most real with me."

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim also had a home visit on Tuesday with Richards, who has visited the ACC school on several occasions.

UConn and Indiana are also in the mix.

"I'm considering every school," Richards told me last week.

Miller and Richardson made good use of their East Coast swing, also visiting Westtown (PA) School shooting guard Brandon Randolph and Putnam Science Academy (CT) shooting guard Hamidou Diallo.

Randolph had cut his list to Oregon, Arizona, Syracuse and Wake Forest, but also met recently with Indiana, while Diallo is being courted by UConn, Kentucky, Arizona, Kansas, UNLV and Syracuse, among others.

 

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WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Joakim Noah isn't afraid to mix it up with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers -- and Carmelo Anthony thinks that's exactly what the Knicks will need to compete with the NBA champions.

Coincidentally enough, the Knicks will open the regular season in Cleveland on Oct. 25 when the Cavs will be feted with their NBA championship rings.

"You ain't got to worry about that with Joakim, I mean he gonna bring it," Anthony said Wednesday after the first day of training camp at West Point, which was also Noah's first practice with the team after he became the father of a baby girl on Tuesday.

"If you're not on his team, you're the enemy and I think with that mentality, that's going to kind of trickle down to everyone else."

James and Noah have a history of fights, altercations and beefs. Most recently in 2015, during a playoff series between the Cavs and the Bulls, James accused Noah of crossing the line by using "disrespectful" trash talk during one exchange that led to technical fouls for both players.

"I love his emotions as a competitor," James said then. "I think the words he used to me [went] a little too far. I'm a father with three kids, you know, it got very disrespectful. I'm okay with competing against Jo. I love the competitive nature in him. We should leave it there. The disrespectful words were uncalled for."

Noah, the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, has never beaten James in the playoffs, and the Knicks haven't either, but Noah says the goal of this group is to ultimately unseat the champs in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

"We'll see, time will tell," said the 31-year-old, 6-foot-11 Noah. "That's definitely the goal. It's definitely not an easy task but that's gotta be the mindset. We all know what it is and right now it all goes through [James], it goes through that guy. And for us to get to where we want to get to, we gotta beat that guy."

Playing in his first practice following the birth of his daughter, Noah, a New York City native, said he "really likes the vibe of this team."

"We're building a foundation, we got a lot of new faces but I think guys have the right mindset and that's important," Noah said.

Noah played in only 29 games last season due to a left shoulder injury, that ultimately required season-ending surgery.

"It was very tough," he said. "As a basketball player, injury is as humbling as it gets. My whole life has been around basketball and when that's taken away from you it's very hard. Anytime I can step on the court, I'm not taking that for granted."

Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf recently said Noah was no longer a "frontline guy" due to his age and injuries, something Noah admits bothered him.

"It's alright, he's entitled to his opinion, you know?" Noah said. "I feel like I have no regrets about my time in Chicago. I gave it everything I had. To me, that's all that matters. I know I did everything I could for that organization.

"I thought it was a little bit of a low blow, but at the end of the day I have nothing but respect for that organization and I'm just excited for that new chapter in my career."

Noah's debut with the Knicks was delayed by a special occasion, the birth of his first child.

"I'm real excited," he said. "I was dealing with something beautiful. My daughter was born [Tuesday] so it was the most beautiful day of my life so I'm happy I was able to be there for that and I'm really happy to be here too."

Anthony, meantime, says Noah brings qualities to the Knicks that they have lacked until now.

"He brings a different dynamic to the court," he said. "Mentally, he forces you to compete at a high level every time out there on the basketball court. Everybody whether you're the 14th, 15th man on the team or myself or Derrick [Rose] or anyone else, he pushes you to go out there and compete every play, every time. "If not, you're going to hear about it. I think that's something that we've been missing. We need it, this organization needs it. And i like it, we like it."

As for that first meeting with the Cavs -- and Noah's first as a Knick -- Anthony can't wait.

"I mean, that's our first game, that's opening night, on their celebratory night, too," he said. "I think the NBA try to give us a light setup on that one but we'll be ready for that. I think it's a major test for us to see where we are at as a team. I know it's only one game opening night, but it will be a good night for us."

 

MELO HOPES CAVS RE-SIGN J.R. SMITH

J.R. Smith remains a free agent, but Anthony said he hopes his former Knicks and Nuggets teammate gets a deal with the Cavs soon.

"Man, I hope so," he said. "I don't know what's going on over there with that. I just hope they don't prolong the situation. He helped them win that championship. He was a major part of that team and I hope they can get something done, but if not see him somewhere else."

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Jamir Moultrie, a Class of 2017 point guard out of District Heights (MD) Bishop McNamara, is focusing on three schools and is targeting a decision next month, his father said.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Moultrie is focusing on Georgia, La Salle and Monmouth, where he took an official visit this past weekend, and could decide soon after his Oct. 14 official visit to Georgia.

"That's their homecoming weekend so we'll go down and visit for that and hopefully not too long after that we'll make a decision," Jeran Moultrie said by phone. "Things kind of boil down right now to La Salle, Monmouth and Georgia."

Moultrie visited Monmouth officially this past weekend. The Hawks are in the market for a point guard after St. Anthony's senior R.J. Cole surprised many by picking Howard over Monmouth.

"He really enjoyed it, he said it was really nice," Jeran said of his son's trip to Monmouth. "It opened up his eyes to some things. We had taken an unofficial up there a few months back but at that time no kids were on campus. This time we were able to see the school in full effect, the campus life as well as the facilities so I thought it was a really cool visit. I enjoyed it."

Monmouth missed out on the NCAA Tournament last year when many thought they deserved an at large.

"No doubt, they got robbed," Moultrie's dad said. "It's a shame but it made them hungrier."

Still, their upward trajectory is appealing to recruits.

"Yeah, definitely," he said. "I think Monmouth is on the right path. Last year's success with the team they had, watching them workout they look really good. And from the coaching staff, they seem to think they're a little bit stronger than they were last year."

Meantime, La Salle is also in the mix.

"They're a wonderfull staff as well," he said. "They're coming off a not so great last year but they're looking a little stronger. They had to take some lumps but this year they kind of re-loaded and are one of the better teams in the A-10."

Georgia will get its chance on the weekend of Oct. 14.

"They've come in kind of late but they've been pretty active with Coach [Jonas] Hayes coming in to see him pretty much every week," Jeran said. "Coach [Mark] Fox came up once. They basically need a point guard and they're looking for a scoring point guard, which kind of fits Jamir's game.

"They saw him originally in Spartanburg against Darius Perry, and they were recruiting Darius Perry but obviously he committed to Louisville."

So a decision could come soon after that visit.

"Hopefully, within a matter of days," he said. "Originally our time to commit was Oct. 1 but with Georgia coming in late and wanting to get him on campus we thought it would be a good opportunity to at least take a look at what they have to offer. I wouldn't suspect it would be too much longer after we visit Georgia. Within a few days after the Georgia visit."

UNC-Charlotte, Seton Hall and Georgetown are also interested but Moultrie is basically focusing on the above three schools.

"UNC-Charlotte has come in kind of late," he said. "I don't know if they're going to get us on campus before that Georgia Visit. And Seton Hall and Georgetown are interested, but we definitely don't want to push it any longer than we have to."

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Wabissa Bede, the 6-foot-1 point guard from Cushing (MA) Academy and the Mass Rivals AAU program, committed to Virginia Tech, giving coach Buzz Williams a point guard of the future.

Ranked the No. 16 point guard in the Class of 2017 by 247Sports.com, Bede also considered Butler, LaSalle, Minnesota and UMass.

"I love coach [Buzz] Williams," he told Scout.com before his official visit this weekend. "[He] reminds me of Vin [Mass Rivals coach Vin Pastore]. He's tough with a soft heart. He believes in me a lot and I can play at that level and produce there. Also they've been recruiting me a lot this summer."

Playing alongside UConn commit Makai Ashton-Langford, Bede helped Mass Rivals win four tournaments this summer and go 21-0.

"Bede's intangibles are off the chart," Pastore said. "He's a great person, leader and teammate. He translates to winning basketball games.

Bede averaged about 13 points per game last season at Cushing.

"Wabissa is a hard-nosed leader," Cushing coach James Cormier said. "His teammates feed off his leadership and toughness. Bede is a willing passer with the ability to read the defense and take advantage of teams that over-help. His ability to score at all three levels is what separates him from most guards at the prep level.

"The bottom line is Wabissa is a winner. He has room to grow and is willing to put in the work to be great. He is ready to contribute at the highest level right away."

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Here's a quick update on some college announcements:

**Dre Perry, a 6-6 small forward from Baltimore Polytechnic (MD), will announce Friday at 6 p.m. between Temple, Kansas State and Virginia Tech.

**Andre Rafus, the 6-9 small forward from Baltimore (MD) Lake Clifton, said he will "delay" his decision after initially planning to announce on Friday between Seton Hall, Kansas, TCU and Georgetown.

TEMPLE ADDS MOORMAN

J.P. Moorman, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Greensboro (N.C.) Day School, verbally committed to Temple.

Moorman is the second player to commit Fran Dunphy's team in the Class of 2017, following Roselle Catholic combo guard Nate Pierre-Louis.

 

ST. JOE'S ADDS POWER FORWARD

St. Joe's added a pledge from Anthony Longpre, a 6-9 power forward from Ellicott City (MD) Glenelg Country School.

Longpre was the player who was on an official visit to George Washington when Mike Lonergan was fired and the coach never showed up to a planned dinner with the recruit.

He joins 6-8 power forward Taylor Funk in coach Phil Martelli's class.

 

VCU ADDS MOBLEY

VCU continued its recent run of recruiting success by adding 6-9 power forward Sean Mobley.

The Montverde (FL) big man joins point guard Lavar Batts and power forward Marcus Santos-Silva in Will Wade's 2017 class.

 

INDIANA ADDS JUSTIN SMITH

Justin Smith, a 6-7 small forward from Lincolnshire (IL) Adlai Stevenson, committed to Indiana this week.

The No. 17 rated player at his position, he also considered Villanova.

Smith joins 6-4 shooting guard Al Durham in Tom Crean's class.

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("Ned Dishman")

Billy Preston, the 6-foot-10 Class of 2017 forward from Oak Hill Academy (VA), has opted to open up his recruitment.

Preston had been focusing on Kansas, USC and Maryland, and he's slated to take an official visit to Kansas this weekend for "Late Night in the Phog."

"After talking with my family and starting my senior year at Oak Hill Academy, I have decided to open my recruitment up and explore what schools would best fit for me as a student-athlete," Preston said. "I am looking forward to taking official visits and have no time table for making my final decision."

Indiana head coach Tom Crean was in recently to see Preston, as was Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim is expected on Monday.

Preston took unofficial visits to Maryland twice and plans to eventually take his official.

"Coach [Mark] Turgeon is a great coach, and he's definitely a player's coach," he said recently. "He told me since I'm a versatile player, I could play anywhere on the court that he sees is best for me."

A Los Angeles native, Preston said he's already familiar with USC's campus. He said he visits it frequently when he is home.

The senior has above average ball handing skills for his size and is a good rim protector.

"He's a great player," Marvin Bagley III , the No. 1 player in the Class of 2018, said of Preston this spring. "He does a lot of things well. He drives the ball. He scores the ball, rebounds extremely well, so it was a good experience to go up against guys like that."

 

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Scout.com on Monday released its latest team recruiting rankings for the Class of 2017 and Duke, Kentucky and Kansas were nowhere to be found.

It's a bit jarring for those of us following college basketball recruiting to see a Top 25 list without all three of those bluebloods anywhere to be seen.

After all, Kentucky and Duke have been 1-2 (in differing orders) in the Scout rankings for eight straight years, and Kansas is usually near the top, too.

Without them, Bruce Pearl and Auburn rank No. 1 with their three-member class of Austin Wiley, Davion Mitchell and Chuma Okeke, followed by Washington, Arizona, Illinois and Western Kentucky, where Rick Stansbury has made national headlines with a class that includes Mitchell Robinson and Josh Anderson.

"I think what these early rankings show is that there's quite a bit of parity in these recruiting class rankings," Evan Daniels of Scout said. "Auburn sits at No. 1 and that's not something we are used to. Then you have Western Kentucky, who is recruiting at a high-major level. There are some new players in these rankings."

Yes, there are.

But don't worry, fans of Kentucky, Duke and Kansas.

Many of the top Class of 2017 prospects look like they will wait until the spring signing period to finalize their decisions, meaning there's still plenty of time for these rankings to change.

Consider that only 6 of the Top 25 prospects in the Scout rankings have committed: No. 1 DeAndre Ayton (Arizona), No. 5 Michael Porter Jr. (Washington), No. 6 Mitchell Robinson (Western Kentucky), No. 13 Austin Wiley (Auburn), No. 19 Jeremiah Tilmon (Illinois) and No. 21 Malik Williams.

That leaves 19 of the top 25 still on the board and many of those, as expected, are considering bluebloods like Kentucky, Duke and Kansas, among others.

"I fully expect Duke, Kentucky and Kansas jump into the list and I'm sure it'll be higher," Daniels said. "Since 2009 the No. 1 position has belonged to the Wildcats or Blue Devils and they're both in on enough top-tier guys, that it'll probably come down to them and Arizona, which has a fantastic class, and should close strong."

So don't worry, fans of Duke, Kentucky and Kansas. You're time is gonna come.

Again.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - June 15, 2016: NBPA Top 100 Camp at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, VA. (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - June 15, 2016: NBPA Top 100 Camp at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, VA. (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline)

This figures to be another busy week for Nick Richards and his teammates at St. Patrick's High School in New Jersey.

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim came in on Tuesday to see the 6-foot-11 Richards and have a home visit, while Arizona coach Sean Miller is expected Wednesday.

"I'm considering every school," Richards told me last week, referring to a group that includes Kentucky, Indiana, UConn, Syracuse and Arizona.

On Friday, Richards is poised to take his first official visit to Kentucky. Wildcats coach John Calipari has met with Richards twice in the last two weeks, including a home visit with Richards' family.

"It's probably going to be me and mom going, just check it out," Richards said of the visit.

Asked what Kentucky's message was, Richards said, "Basically just come to the school. They told me about the environment of the school, how it is before games, after games, during the games. They showed me a video of what happens. It was pretty exciting."

Kentucky could lose several bigs to the NBA after 2017, most notably projected Top-10 pick Bam Adebayo.

"Yeah, we was talking about the NBA for a little bit," Richards said. "He was just telling me what Kentucky can do for me as a person and develop my game."

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a current NBA player whose jersey is retired at St. Patrick's, has known Richards for some time and also been recruiting him to Kentucky.

Most importantly, Richards said his mother, Marion Tenn, likes Kentucky.

"She likes Cal, he keeps it real with her," he said. "She likes the energy that they give to us.

Syracuse has long been involved with Richards, but no visit date has yet been set.

Arizona, meantime, has come in recently and Richards has had good things to say about Arizona assistant Book Richardson.

Arizona also met Tuesday with Westtown (PA) and PSA Cardinals shooting guard Brandon Randolph and later with Putnam Science Academy (CT) shooting guard Hamidou Diallo, sources said.

Randolph cut his list to Arizona, Oregon, Syracuse and Wake Forest and took an official visit to Oregon this past weekend. He also met last week with Indiana head coach Tom Crean and assistant Chuck Martin.

As for Diallo, Arizona is among several schools involved, along with Kentucky, UConn, Syracuse, Indiana and UNLV. UConn and UNLV are due to see him Wednesday.

As for a timetable on a decision, Richards said: "Whenever I have that feeling, I'll just commit."

 

ST. PAT'S GUYS TAKING VISITS

On top of Richards' visit, newly committed shooting guard Jamir Harris takes his official to Minnesota this weekend, while uncommitted 2017 guard Marcus McClary visits Monmouth and 2018 guard Jordan Walker trips to Georgia.

 

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NEW YORK (AP) - NBA players aren't just worried about their teams as they start a new season.

They're concerned for their country.

The usual basketball clichés that dominate media days gave way to serious talk about social injustice and violence in communities, with players wanting to be involved in finding solutions but acknowledging they don't know yet how.

"Some of the things that I've been addressing over this past summer, I think we're still in the same state. I think it's actually getting worse and it will continue to get worse," Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony said Monday. "We still have to kind of keep the conversations going."

Anthony was among the highest-profile and most outspoken players following the killing of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota in July, joining friends and fellow stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul in a powerful opening to the ESPY Awards and continuing to speak out while playing for the U.S. Olympic team.

But recent killings by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Charlotte, North Carolina, captured on video have convinced those players that progress they seek hasn't arrived.

"Obviously, I know things don't happen overnight, but it doesn't seem like there is any change," James told The Associated Press. "We just want the conversation to continue to be, 'Who are our leaders? Who are our true leaders that are going to help us change what's going on?' Everyone is looking for that and no one knows."

Players praised San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for bringing attention with his peaceful protest of kneeling during the national anthem. James, Anthony, NBA MVP Stephen Curry and others said they would continue to stand - as NBA rules stipulate - and hoped players could find meaningful ways to work with their teammates instead of individually.

"Am I going to kneel down and put my fist up? No, I'm not. That's no disrespect to Colin or anybody else that's doing it. But they've gotten the point across," said Draymond Green, Curry's Golden State teammate. "I don't think I need to come out and do a national anthem protest, because it's already started. There's already a conversation. But like I said, is there going to be something done about it?"

Protests over the killing of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte turned violent, with Mayor Jennifer Roberts imposing a curfew. Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside still calls the area home and was troubled by it.

"We've just got to get an understanding of it," Whiteside told the AP. "There's not really one way to fix the problem. It's been going on for a while. People are sick of it."

Brooklyn's Jeremy Lin said he's thankful there's more awareness about a problem that was long ignored, but is worried about some of the heated reactions they produced.

"I just know that right now, talking to different parties and seeing both sides, there's just a lot of tension and hostility and I don't think that's going to get it done," Lin said. "I think that's going to harbor more violence."

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After visiting Maryland and Georgetown unofficially over the weekend, Class of 2018 point guard Immanuel Quickley has slated more visits to some of the nation's top college programs.

The 6-foot-3 Quickley out of John Carroll (MD) has scheduled unofficial visits to Kansas (Oct 1-2), Miami (Oct 8-9), Kentucky (Oct 14), Louisville (Oct 15), Virginia (Oct 22) and Duke (Oct 28) for the next four weeks.

Quickley helped the USA U17 team win a gold medal this summer

He was watched by a slew of coaches both at that event in Spain and on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit with Baltimore Elite.

Quickley this month added offers from Providence, Virginia and UConn to go with previous offers from Louisville, Wake Forest, Villanova, Arizona, Texas A&M, UCLA, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Central Florida, Depaul, Miami, Southern California, Cincinnati, Rhode Island, Washington and UMBC.

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The Knicks are set to open training camp on Tuesday, but don't ask Carmelo Anthony what type of offense the team will run under first-year coach Jeff Hornacek.

"I honestly don't know what this offense is going to be," Anthony said Monday at Knicks' Media Day. "I think everybody is speculating something. I honestly don't know. I haven't talked to Jeff about what type of offense we're gonna run, what we're going to be doing."

Hornacek is on record saying the triangle "will be part of our offense." He was hired by President Phil Jackson in part because of his familiarity with the triangle offense from playing for former Phoenix Suns coach Cotton Fitzsimmons, a disciple of triangle founder Tex Winter.

But Hornacek also ran an up-tempo attack and utilized multiple point guards during his tenure in Phoenix.

"I guess we will all be introduced to what's going to happen [Tuesday] in our first practice," Anthony said. "But I have no idea what's going to happen, what kind of offense we're going to run so I can't really give you any details on that."

The Knicks -- who face odds of 80/1 to win the NBA title according to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook -- head to West Point for four days of training camp beginning Wednesday.

Coming off winning his third gold medal in Rio, Anthony said he feels tremendous excitement heading into a fresh season with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee as his new teammates alongside Kristaps Porzingis.

"I don't think there's been this type of excitement surrounding our team since I've been here over the past couple of years," he said. "The guys that we brought in was a group of guys that was put together in a very strategic way. The type of character guys that we have, the work ethic, the focus level is at an all-time high."

Still, he understands it will take a while for all the new pieces to jell.

Anthony is working under his fifth coach with the Knicks and has nine new teammates. He said 8-10 Knicks spent time with him in Puerto Rico in August in order to bond and jell.

"Over the past few years I've been trying to create that vibe and get guys together throughout the season, kind of taking themselves away from the game of basketball and get a chance to know everyone off the court," he said.

"I know this year I was able to get an opportunity to know more about Derrick, Courtney, the other guys that we have on this team, Brandon. So that's more of a social event for me to get guys there so we can get an idea of who people are, not as basketball players but as people."

Hornacek has said he may play Rose and Jennings together in the backcourt at times. The Knicks also want to see Anthony on the wing on the fast break as opposed to pushing the ball, and scoring closer to the basket at times.

Anthony said he's open to whatever makes the team better, but knows it's going to take a collective effort -- especially since nobody knows what the offense is right now.

"I'm always open to new ways and new things and experiencing new situations to help better my game and help better everyone else's game so we'll see, man," Anthony said. "I'm ready to get out here and go play and figure this thing out as we all go along.

"We're not going to figure it all out in this first week of training camp here in West Point."

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Derrick Rose speaks during a news conference at Madison Square Garden, Friday, June 24, 2016 in New York. The Knicks introduced Derrick Rose, the former NBA MVP they acquired from the Chicago Bulls. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Mary Altaffer/AP)
Derrick Rose speaks during a news conference at Madison Square Garden, Friday, June 24, 2016 in New York. The Knicks introduced Derrick Rose, the former NBA MVP they acquired from the Chicago Bulls. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Mary Altaffer/AP)

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- With his civil trial for sexual assault set to begin Oct. 4, Knicks point guard Derrick Rose says he hasn't been contacted by the police and expects to be "proven innocent."

"As far as the trial, that's something I can't think about," Rose said Monday at Knicks' Media Day. "It's not true, I will be proven innocent and I haven't been thinking about it. I'm letting my [legal] team handle it."

USA Today reported Monday that Los Angeles police continue to investigate Rose over the allegations, according to federal court records.

"This note is to clarify any misconceptions that the Los Angeles Police Departments does not have a current criminal investigation pending that names the suspects in the current civil case being handled by your office," Det. Nadine Hernandez wrote in a letter sent on Thursday.

Rose said he hasn't been contacted by the police.

"No, I haven't talked to anyone and this is my first time hearing about it," Rose said. "Once again, I'm not worried about it. I feel I can handle anything."

Waukeen McCoy, the attorney for the woman in the civil case, said by email that the criminal case "is still active and the LAPD is interviewing witnesses."

"It is unfortunate that Mr. Rose is not remorseful for his actions with his two friends where they, in my opinion, train raped plaintiff on August 27, 2013," McCoy said by email. "It is clear that he has no understanding of how serious these allegations are, and that at the end of the day he will have to deal with the consequences of his actions, whether it be in the civil or criminal arena."

The woman has been identified as a 30-year-old college student who is seeking $21.5 million in the civil lawsuit.

Rose's attorney, Mark Baute, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Monday but is on record saying the woman had consensual sex with Rose.

"The salacious allegations of a woman who is now on a media tour - who also claims to not remember much from that night - do not change what transpired that evening, which was consensual intercourse between Mr. Rose and the plaintiff," Baute wrote in a statement to the AP earlier this month.

The civil trial is slated to being Oct. 4 in Los Angeles, the same day the Knicks open the preseason in Houston. That is also Rose's 28th birthday.

The Knicks begin training camp Tuesday and it remains unclear if Rose, whom the Knicks obtained in a blockbuster trade in July and who is in the last year of his contract, will miss any time during the preseason because of the trial.

Knicks President Phil Jackson said on Friday the case "isn't keeping [Rose] up at night."

"I'm not worried about it, but if I do have to miss time, it's a part of it," Rose said. "Of course, I don't want to be in this position but it is what it is. I'm going to let my lawyers and let my team handle it."

Meantime, Carmelo Anthony said there is tremendous "excitement" surrounding the team, and cited the addition of Rose, who played 66 games last season following multiple knee surgeries.

"I've never played alongside a guy like Derrick," Anthony said. "I've played alongside other point guards in my career, different style, different type of point guards.

"But to play alongside an explosive guy like Derrick, someone who can pick the pace up, someone who's a threat at that position, the only thing that I can do is go out there and play basketball and and enjoy playing basketball again."

Of Rose, Anthony added: "He's extremely focused right now. He's healthy, he has a different mindset. He has a clear mind and he's ready to go out there and try to help us with our goals."

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R.J. Cole, the 6-foot-1 Class of 2017 point guard at St. Anthony's, verbally committed to Howard University on Monday, spurning Monmouth and Boston University in the process.

For Howard, Cole could end up being a program-changer who could change how other recruits look at coming to the school.

"I got really close with the coach [Kevin Nickelberry] and he's been there from the beginning," Cole said of choosing the historically black institution.

The Linden, N.J., native is a pure point guard who helped St. Anthony's win the New Jersey Tournament of Champions title in 2016.

"I plan on coming in and making an impact on the offensive end with my scoring and getting my teammates in position to score," he said. "[We can have a] St. Anthony's caliber offense."

"He's the son of a coach and former point guard with tremendous understanding of the game and the position," St. Anthony's assistant Eric Harrield said. "R.J. has become a solid and dependable lead guard on both sides of the court who will only get better as he's a young senior. He's by far the most underrated point guard in the country."
 

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North Carolina has landed a big man for the future in Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God center Brandon Huffman.

The 6-foot-10 Huffman is ranked the No. 45 center in the Class of 2017 by 247Sports.com. He also held offers from Missouri, Virginia Tech, Providence, Indiana, Oklahoma State, UNLV, Georgia Tech, Seton Hall, Pitt, LSU, UConn and others.

Huffman is Carolina's second Class of 2017 commit, following Northfield (MA) Mount Hermon shooting guard Andrew Platek.

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams and his staff were familar Huffman because they recruited his former teammate Rawle Alkins last year at Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God Academy.

"They came over and they saw [Huffman] a little bit then [when they were recruiting Alkins] and that's where the relationship started," Word of God coach Brian Clifton told SNY.tv recently.

Alkins ultimately chose Arizona, but the Tar Heels jumped into the mix for Huffman -- a native of Alaska whose parents are in the military -- last month by offering him a scholarship during a visit to campus.

"They met with Coach Williams and he had Brandon and his father in his office," Clifton said, adding that Huffman's father is from Columbia, S.C. "They sat down face-to-face and talked about it. They finally had an opportunity to sit down. They requested his transcript a couple of weeks ago. They saw him during the summer and they were in contact after the summer.

"They felt like they had seen enough to where they felt the kid could help them and they put the offer out today, and that's where we are."

As for Huffman's upside and potential, Clifton said: "I think he's got tremendous upside. Brandon's one of the few 6-10 guys remaining in basketball who fully embraces what a 6-10 player could be and should be. He plays with great energy, great passion. He blocks shots, he rebounds the ball and wants to dunk it. He doesn't want to prove that he's Kevin Durant. He doesn't want to dribble it or shoot it.

"He's also an exceptionally well raised kid. His parents have done a tremendous job with him. He's a military kid who's not going to have any off-the-court issues. He's going to go to class. I think he's a no-brainer for this level or any level."

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P.J. Washington, the 6-foot-8 forward from Frisco, Texas and Findlay Prep (NV), took his second official visit to North Carolina this past weekend and enjoyed it.

"P.J. really enjoyed hanging out with the team and Coach [Roy] Williams was really down to Earth," said Paul Washington Sr., the Findlay Prep coach and P.J.'s father.

North Carolina will lose Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks from the frontcourt and could lose more than that, and can offer Washington quality playing time going forward.

"He is a forward and can play both positions when needed," his father said.

Washington's father also confirmed P.J. will take a return trip to Kentucky for Big Blue Madness on Oct. 14, after he previously visited for an official. Ben Roberts first reported the news.

Washington next month also hits Arizona (Oct. 21-23) and Texas (Oct. 28-30). That leaves one more if they opt to take it.

"We're going to take all the visits so we have something to compare them to," Washington Sr. said recently.

As far as a timetable, Washington plans to take his visits but also could decide at any time.

"It's all up to P.J.," his father said. "My timeframe was to make sure he got his 4-5 official visits out the way and after that he might wake up one morning and say, 'I want to decide.' So that's on him.

"But I wouldn't let him do it until he had his visits. So we'll be done with these visits at the end of October."

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Mar 17, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Xavier Musketeers head coach Chris Mack talks with the media during a practice day before the first round of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Curry)
Mar 17, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Xavier Musketeers head coach Chris Mack talks with the media during a practice day before the first round of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Curry)

Kentrevious Jones, a 6-foot-11, 290-pound big man from Macon (GA) Central and the Atlanta Xpress, committed to Xavier on Sunday, giving head coach Chris Mack a huge frontcourt presence going forward.

Jones also considered UCF, LSU, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

"I feel like by me going to Xavier my career as a student-athlete will be great," he said. "We're also trying to have the best recruiting class and win an NCAA championship.

"They made me feel like family during my visit and Xavier has a lot of resources to help develop a good big man. We're coming for that championship."

He joins shooting guards Naji Marshall and Elias Harden and small forward Jarred Ridder in Xavier's 2017 class.

"I will bring a nice skillset," Jones said. "I'm a big who can play with my back to the basket and also can take my opponent off the dribble. I rebound well and can rebound outside my area. I have a nice touch and can shoot from mid-range and for three-pointers. I can finish with either hand, have a nice touch from the free throw line and love to bang down low.

"I plan on coming in and working hard and staying on top of my work and most importantly in basketball. I'm going to try to lose more weight and I'm gonna grind hard!"

Said Jones AAU coach Darren Darby of the Atlanta Xpress: "He's a true middle presence, a throw-back big guy with grit and toughness. He's a slepper who didn't play last summer because of a broken foot. He's lost 20 pounds already.

"He will be a kid people talk about two years from now saying, 'Where was this kid? How did Mack find him'"

Photo: Scout.com

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 (Tommy Gilligan)
(Tommy Gilligan)

Hofstra men's basketball coach Joe Mihalich was on a recruiting visit at Whitney Young High School in Chicago on Friday night when the school's basketball coach, Tyrone Slaughter, came in to the main office to greet him.

"Don't you have to hurry home for that debate?" Slaughter asked Mihalich.

"It's amazing just how big this debate is and it's amazing what it's doing for our school," Mihalich replied.

Slaughter, of course, was referring to Monday's first Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Hofstra's Long Island campus.

Slaughter presumably knows about such things since Michelle Obama is a graduate of Whitney Young and her picture hangs on a school wall.

"To me, that's pretty cool, man," Mihalich related in a phone conversation on Saturday. "That's how big this debate is. The basketball coach at Whitney Young in Chicago is all over this debate. That's really cool."

Yes, with the Presidential race seemingly getting tighter every day, all eyes will be on the debate come Monday night, with analysts projecting an audience of between 80 and 100 million TV viewers, according to CNN.

"They're saying that this is going to be the most watched thing in the history of TV," Mihalich said.

The debate will reportedly cost Hofstra $5-6 million but several real estate developers are helping to offset the cost.

The debate hype has helped promote Hofstra University across the nation, but it's also come at the expense of some necessities for the basketball teams.

Trump has taken over the men's locker room and Clinton the women's, so the basketball teams have been forced to relocate across campus to the rec center.

"It's been well worth it just to be able to have this debate on campus, so it's worth it," Mihalich said.

But Trump and Clinton are all set.

"We've got an incredible locker room so they're both awesome," Mihalich said.

"All I'm going to say is like every other game we play is I hope the winner comes out of our locker room," he added. "I don't want anyone to think I'm anti-Hillary though."

The second and third presidential debates are set for Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis and Oct. 19 at UNLV.

So the basketball teams at those schools should get ready to give up their locker rooms, too.

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Christian David, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Vermont Academy, committed to Butler on Saturday night, giving coach Chris Holtmann a huge building block heading forward.

Ranked the No. 23 shooting guard in the Class of 2017 by 247Sports.com, he also considered Pitt and Creighton.

New Butler assistant Mike Schrage, who began recruiting David while at Stanford, gets the assist on the commitment.

"Christian has a high upside because of his versatility on both ends of the floor," Vermont Academy coach Alex Popp said. "He is an athletic guard who is very skilled. He has great basketball IQ. Above all, he is a winner. He played on the Vermont Academy team that won NEPSAC AA last year."

David announced his pick on Twitter. He becomes the second Vermont Academy senior this week to pick a school, after 6-7 power forward Marcus Santos-Silva committed to VCU on Wednesday.

He is Butler's fourth commit, following point guard Jerald Butler, shooting guard Cooper Neese and power forward Kyle Young.

 

MONMOUTH LANDS HAMMOND

Deion Hammond, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Riverdale Baptist (Md.) High School, committed to Monmouth on Saturday, as first reported by Josh Newman.

Hammond, who averaged 12.8 points and 3.4 rebounds last season, also considered Quinnipiac and Canisius.

"Deion got along with the players there, and they really wanted him to come there, as well as King Rice and the staff," Donald Hammond told Gannett new Jersey on Saturday morning. "They didn't put too much pressure on him, but they definitely let him know how important he was, and that helped him to make a decision."

Monmouth remains in the hunt for St. Anthony's senior point guard R.J. Cole, and also has point guard Jamir Moultrie of District Heights (MD) Bishop McNamara on campus this weekend for an official.

 

USC LANDS UYAELUNMO

Victor Uyaelunmo, the 7-footer from Calvary Christian (FL) Academy announced his commitment to USC on Friday via Twitter.

"I decided to go to USC because it had everything I needed. Both academically and basketball," he explained. "I'm excited to have a great time and be able to works towards my goal in life."

Uyaelunmo joins Jordan Usher as the second commit in USC's 2017 Class. They have the 32nd best-recruiting class in 2017 according to 247 Sports.

 

EJ MONTGOMERY TO AUBURN

EJ Montgomery, the 6-10 power forward from Joseph Wheeler (GA) High School, committed to Auburn on Thursday.

Montgomery becomes the first commit in Bruce Pearl's 2018 class after taking an unofficial visit to Auburn earlier this month. Auburn now has the No. 4 recruiting class in 2018 according to 247 Sports.

He took to twitter to announce his commitment, saying, "I have made my decision I will be going to play for Bruce Pearl at Auburn University ��. "

 

EVERETT RAY TO SMU

Everett Ray, a 6-foot-7 power forward from Trinity (TX) Christian Academy committed to SMU on Thursday.

Ray chose SMU over Stephen F. Austin, TCU, Arkansas, Pepperdine, and Texas. He is SMU's second commit in two weeks after they recently landed 6-0 point guard Elijah Landrum.

 

DJURICIC TO HARVARD

Harvard landed a pledge from Danilo Djuricic, a 6-8 power forward from St. Michael's College in Canada.

He is Harvard's second 2017 commit following Mario Haskett, a 6-3 shooting guard from Virginia.

Tommy Amaker remains in the hunt for 6-10 Wendell Carter Jr., having made the final four on his list, a 7-footer Mohamed Bamba, who is considering Harvard among his seven.

 

JUSTIN SMITH DOWN TO 2

Justin Smith, a 6-7 wing from Stevenson (Ill., is down to two schools according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN.com.

Borzello reported on Friday morning that Smith will choose between Indiana and Villanova.

Smith has taken official visits to both schools, and has cancelled a scheduled visit to Stanford for later ths month.

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George Washington has interviewed all three men's basketball assistant coaches as possible replacements for Mike Lonergan, multiple sources said.

Hajj Turner, Maurice Joseph and Carmen Maciariello were interviewed by the school's Provost, Forrest Maltzman, sources said. No one else has been interviewed and interviews are said to be complete.

Lonergan was fired Sept. 16 after reports he verbally and emotionally abused his players.

Practice begins Friday and GW opens the season Nov. 11 against Maryland-Eastern Shore.

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Hashan French, the 6-foot-7 power forward from Commonwealth (MA) Academy and the PSA Cardinals, has cut his list to four schools.

French is down to UNLV, St. Louis, Marquette and UMass. French cut VCU after Marcus Santos-Silva committed on Wednesday and Minnesota is no longer involved after Jamir Harris took their last scholarship.

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NEW YORK -- Cole Anthony has definitely noticed a Who's Who of big-time college basketball programs coming through the Archbishop Molloy gym in recent weeks.

There was Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and Florida coach Mike White on Thursday, along with assistants from UConn, Indiana and Miami.

Maryland's Mark Turgeon was in on Tuesday.

And assistants from Duke and Kansas have also been in recently.

"It's a lot different than last year," Anthony told me Thursday. "I mean, going from open gyms having no coaches to having a lot of coaches on the East Coast coming out here. Honestly, it's a blessing. We all worked for it. Me, Khalid [Moore], Moses [Brown], everybody in here, we all worked for it and it's just an honor."

Yes, Molloy's "Big Three" of the 7-foot-1 Brown, the 6-7 Moore and the 6-2 Anthony figures to draw a steady stream of coaches for the next two years.

As far as Anthony goes, he and his family -- his father Greg Anthony is the former NBA point guard -- have kept it close to the vest on his recruitment.

And understandably so. He's still only a rising sophomore and has plenty of time to make a decision. The Verbal Commits Website lists only Wake Forest and Iona as having made offers to Anthony, but rest assured he will be able to play at just about any college he wants. He's that good, and should only get better playing alongside Brown and Moore and with the PSA Cardinals AAU program. 

"Everybody loves him, it's hard not to love him, he's a great player," Molloy coach Mike McCleary told me. "He's grown so much maturity-wise from last year to this year. We talk every day and last year we didn't talk every day. He comes by every day. And the things I tell him at 10 o'clock in the morinng I want to see him do in open gym, he's doing in open gym."

McCleary said Anthony was espeiailly pleased to see Duke's Jeff Capel and Kansas' Norm Roberts in the gym.

"He was happy when Duke was here last week but he was also happy that Kansas was here," he said.

"It's pretty much every kid's dream who picks up a basketball," Anthony said. "Those are two of the best colleges in the country. They got some of the best alunni, it's just an honor."

Asked if he grew up a Duke fan, Anthony said, "Duke and North Carolina but I'm open to everybody."

He declined to elaborate on Duke's message to him: "That's on the low right now. My dad talked to them. It's going to come out soon.

"My offers are not out right now, we just don't need the hype. Honestly, I'm more of a fan of college basketball right now, I don't need the hype. It will all come as I keep growing as a player.'

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 (Jerry Lai)
(Jerry Lai)

NEWARK -- Brad Underwood knows that Kansas has been the gold standard in the Big 12 Conference for more than a decade now, but the new Oklahoma State coach is on a mission to restore the Cowboys to glory.

Bill Self and the Jayhawks have earned at least a share of the Big 12 title for 12 straight years, but Underwood says the Cowboys should consistently challenge them for league supremacy.

"Absolutely, it should happen, it should happen," he told me on Friday at the Brayden Carr Foundation Coaches Clinic at Prudential Center. "We have very passionate, educated fans and when you have Mr. [Henry] Iba, you have Eddie Sutton and you have an arena [Gallagher-Iba] which to this day is the loudest arena I've ever been in in my life as a player and as a coach, we'll get back to that.

"And we do that then we become a relevant name again and that's something that's not just our goal, but I think it's the place we belong."

Underwood, 52, was hired in March after Oklahoma State fired Travis Ford, now the St. Louis coach. In three seasons at Stephen F. Austin, Underwood went 89-14, including a 53-1 mark in the Southland Conference, with three NCAA Tournament appearances.

Ford was fired after a season in which the Cowboys went 3-15 in Big 12 play and 12-20 overall.

Alhough he led Oklahoma State to five NCAA tournaments in his eight seasons, he never led the Cowboys to a top-two finish in conference play, and finished sixth or worse in the Big 12 seven times.

Now here comes Underwood looking to turn it around.

"Yeah, I don't think there's any question, there's been some slippage there but I think along with Kansas it's one of the premier basketball jobs not only in that conference but in the country so we've worked really hard at that," Underwood said.

Underwood will lean heavily on sophomore point guard Jawun Evans, the Big 12 Freshman of the Year who averaged 12.9 points and 4.9 assists last season, and senior guard Phil Forte III,  who has 1,307 career points.

"We've got a backcourt that excites me," Underwood said. "We've got Jawun Evans and Phil Forte, who I think will be one of the Top 10 backcourts in the country. Then I think we've got a plethora of guys in the 6-4 to 6-8 area who are athletic, they've played. We're a little thin up front but we won't let that be a detriment. And we've got some experience. So if we can come together and jell and have the chemistry that I think we can, I think we can be a force."

Underwood and assistant Mike Boynton, a Brooklyn native, used their time in the New York-New Jersey area to good use.

Underwood supported Rhode Island assistant Jimmy Carr and the Brayden Carr Foundation, a non- profit charitable organization established by Jimmy and Natalie Carr, parents of the late Brayden James Carr, who was 2 1/2 when he died in 2011.

The clinic also featured Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall, Manhattan coach Steve Masiello, Montverde (FL) Academy coach Kevin Boyle and legendary former Princeton coach Pete Carril.

"I've known Jimmy, we're a tight fraternity," Underwood said. "We get together on the road. We've became very good aquaintances here in the last couple years at URI when I was at Stephen F. because we both had major difficulties scheduling, so it seemed like we were talking every other day. And then this is such a great cause and to have that at the forefront just made a lot of sense to me to be a part of."

Underwood and Boynton also used their time in New Jersey and New York to recruit, hitting schools like Hudson Catholic, St. Benedict's Prep and Bishop Loughlin, which are all loaded with young talent.

"When I was at Kansas State, we recruited up here a great deal," Underwood siad. "Mike Boynton is a Brooklyn native so this becomes an area that we're going to recruit outside our region and an area that we feel very confident that being in the Big 12 we can bring kids to."

 

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Derrick Rose speaks during a news conference at Madison Square Garden, Friday, June 24, 2016 in New York. The Knicks introduced Derrick Rose, the former NBA MVP they acquired from the Chicago Bulls. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Mary Altaffer /AP)
Derrick Rose speaks during a news conference at Madison Square Garden, Friday, June 24, 2016 in New York. The Knicks introduced Derrick Rose, the former NBA MVP they acquired from the Chicago Bulls. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Mary Altaffer /AP)

Derrick Rose is facing an upcoming civil trial related to an alleged gang rape, but Knicks President Phil Jackson says the case "isn't keeping [Rose] up at night."

"We're not going to really talk about that, we're just going to let the process work itself out," Jackson said Friday. "We're not concerned.

"We understand this is a serious subject we're talking about but this has to be done outside of our control. It's something we can't control so Derrick has expressed that he's not concerned about it. I mean, he's quite aware of it but it's not keeping him up at night so we're going to leave it at that."

The trial is slated to being Oct. 4 in Los Angeles, the same day the Knicks open the preseason in Houston. It remains unclear if Rose will miss any portion of the preseason because of the trial. The Knicks will have their media day on Monday and are set to begin training camp on Wednesday at West Point.

"We anticipate that it will not affect his season, hopefully training camp or games," Jackson said when repeatedly asked about it. "But we're to go let the due process of the justice system work its work through here in the next week and a half or so. We want to put this to rest. There doesn't need to be a lot of talk about this."

A woman is suing and alleging Rose and two others gang-raped her in 2013. She is suing for $21.5 million and is identified in court papers only as Jane Doe. U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald said this week that she would not be allowed to remain anonymous.

The Knicks are counting on a healthy Rose to help lead them to the playoffs after a three-year drought.

"He's doing some yoga stuff so he's feeling that his body is good," Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said, adding that there would be no minutes restriction on Rose to start. "Watching the pickup games they've been having, he looks like he's in great shape, he's got great energy and I think things he's done over the summer to prepare himself...Basketball-wise he's ready to go."

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NEW YORK -- Louisville coach Rick Pitino and assistant Kenny Johnson came to the Archbishop Molloy open gym on Thursday primarly to watch 7-footer Moses Brown, but left by offering a scholarship to his teammate Khalid Moore.

The offer was first reported by Andrew Slater of 247Sports.com, and confirmed by Moore.

Moore, a 6-foot-7 wing who runs with the NY Rens, was one of the breakout 16U players this summer at the Peach Jam and is coming into his own entering his junior season.

It doesn't hurt that he's part of a "Big Three" at Molloy that includes Brown and Class of 2019 point guard Cole Anthony, the son of former NBA point guard Greg Anthony.

"Yeah, I'm feeling good right now," Moore told me. "I got a few schools [offering] lately playing in the open gym and over the summer."

In the last month or so, Moore has added offers from Louisville, Virginia, St. John's and Syracuse to go with offers from Rutgers, Miami, VCU and Seton Hall.

In addition to Louisville, Florida head coach Mike White and assistant Dusty May plus assistants from UConn, Miami and Indiana watched the open gym. UConn and Florida told Moore they would follow his progress. Maryland and Syracuse are also high on him.

"It's exciting, I just appreciate it very much," he said. "Any school that can help me develop as a player is what I'm looking for.

A long and lanky athlete, Moore wants to work on "getting stronger" and become "more consistent shooting the ball." With two years left in high school alongside Brown and Anthony, Moore should continue to improve as Molloy challenges for city and state titles.

"I still have a lot of time to improve," Moore said.

Molloy coach Mike McCleary agrees.

"We've always been very high on him," the coach said. "He was great as a freshman and then last year as a starter on the varsity, he was a kid that we never took out of games. We had seniors on that team and here was a sophomore that we couldn't take off the floor.

"He defended the best player. He would make everything on offense. You tell him something once, you never have to tell him again He's smart, he's under-rated in how tough and strong he is. He makes plays that are like, 'Jesus, how does that kid get that rebound?' But he does."

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Villanova's prized freshman Omari Spellman will not be eligible during the 2016-17 basketball season and will spend the year as an academic redshirt, the school announced Friday.

The 6-foot-9 big man still has four years of eligiblity remaining.

A news conference, featuring Villanova Director of Athletics Mark Jackson and head coach Jay Wright will be held later today.

"We are extremely disappointed for Omari," Wright said. "While we don't agree with the NCAA's decision, we are members of the association and respect it. We understand why the NCAA felt it had to rule this way.

 "We will make a positive out of this for Omari. He will concentrate on his academics and individual development this season. In the long run Omari will be a better student and player for this experience."

Per NCAA initial eligibility bylaws, a prospective student-athlete must complete their initial eligibility requirements not later than the high school graduation date of his or her class. Despite graduating from high school in 2016 and presenting the same academic qualifications as an NCAA qualifier, the NCAA determined Omari's status to be an Academic Redshirt.

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Here's a look towards this weekend's recruiting visits and other news. This list was compiled via information from players, coaches and media reports, including HoopSeen.com, and will be updated all weekend.

**Immanuel Quickley, the Class of 2018 point guard from John Carroll (MD), will take unofficial visits to Maryland and Georgetown on Saturday (today), per a source.

**Gary Trent Jr., the 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Prolific (CA) Prep, will visit UCLA this weekend for his first official visit. He is also slated to visit Arizona (Oct. 14), Duke (Oct. 21), and Michigan State (Oct. 25).

**Kris Wilkes, the 6-foot-8 small forward from North Central (IN) High School, will take an official visit to UCLA this weekend (Sept. 22-25). Wilkes visited Illinois earlier this month (Sept. 9-11) and plans to visit Indiana (Sept. 30), Xavier (Oct. 28), and UConn (Nov. 3). He released his top five last month.

**Tremont Waters, the 5-11 point guard from Notre Dame (CT) High School, will take his third official visit this weekend to Indiana. Waters took officials to Georgetown and Kentucky earlier this month and plans to take his official to Kansas later this month (Sept. 30).

**Troy Brown Jr., 6-foot-7 small forward from Centennial (NV) High School, visits Oregon (Sept. 23) this weekend. He is also slated to visit Kansas (Sept. 30) and Georgetown (Oct. 5). Brown took official visits to Ohio State and Alabama earlier this month.

**P.J. Washington, the 6-foot-7 power forward from Team Penny and Findlay (NV) Prep, takes his second official visit to North Carolina (Sept. 23-25) this weekend. Washington took his first official visit to Kentucky (Sept. 16-18) last weekend and will visit Arizona (Oct. 21-23) and Texas (Oct. 28-30) next month. UNC also hosts 2018 big man David McCormack and 2018 guard Coby White and 2019s Wendell Moore and Christian Brown.

**Nojel Eastern, the 6-7 point guard from Evanston (IN) Township, visits Michigan State this weekend.

**Clifton Moore, the 6-10 forward from from Hatboro-Horsham (PA), trips to Ole Miss and will also visit Northwestern (Oct. 6).

**Darryl Morsell, the 6-4 combo guard from Baltimore (MD) Saint Joseph, visits Villanova after hitting Notre Dame last weekend. He has trips slated to Maryland (Sept. 30) and Dayton (Oct. 21).

**Hashan French, the 6-7 forward from Commonwealth Academy (MA), visits Minnesota after going to Marquette last weekend. He hits St. Louis next weekend.

**Walter Whyte, the 6-5 small forward from St. Luke's (CT), visits Boston University before hitting Northeastern (Sept. 29) and Davidson (Oct. 22).

**Devontae Shuler, a 6-3 shooting guard from Oak Hill (VA) Academy, takes his second official visit this weekend (Sept. 23) to Oklahoma State. Shuler took his first official to South Carolina last week (Sept. 15) and plans to take his official to Ole Miss next month (Oct. 7). Shuler is down to five schools: Oklahoma State, USC, South Carolina, Miami, and Ole Miss.

**Oklahoma State also hosts 6-7 forward Victor Enoh of Greenforest Christian Academy (GA).

**Baylor hosts Jase Febres, a 6-5 shooting guard from Houston (TX) Westfield.

**Deng Gak, the 6-foot 11 center from Blair (NJ) Academy, takes his first official visit to Miami this weekend (Sept. 23-25). Gak also has plans to visit Florida (Oct. 7-9), Indiana (Oct. 14-16), and Kansas (Oct. 21-23). He is also considering Duke.

**Lindell Wigginton, the 6-1 point guard from Oak Hill (VA) Academy, will take his second official visit to Iowa State this weekend (Sept. 24) before taking visits to Arizona State (Oct. 8) and Baylor (Oct. 15) next month. Wigginton took his first official to Oregon earlier this month (Sept. 9). Iowa State also hosts 6-8 center Isaiah Stokes of IMG Academy (FL).

**Daejon Davis, the 6-foot-3 guard from Garfield(WA) High School, will take his first official visit to Oregon this weekend (Sept. 23). Davis is currently down to five schools and has planned visits with all of them: Oregon (Sept. 23), Stanford (Sept. 30), Gonzaga (Oct. 7), Arizona (Oct. 14), and Washington (Oct. 21). He was previously committed to Washington before de-committing back in April.

**Brandon Randolph, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Westtown (PA) School, will take his second official visit to Oregon this weekend (Sept. 23). Randolph previously visited Syracuse earlier this month (Sept. 9) and recently cut his list to four schools: Arizona, Oregon, Syracuse, and Wake Forest. He also had a home visit this week with Indiana head coach Tom Crean and assistant Chuck Martin.

**Rayshaun Hammonds, the 6-foot-7 small forward from Norcross (GA) High School, takes an official visit to Memphis this weekend.

**Wabissa Bede, the 6-foot-2 guard from Cushing (MA) Academy, trips to Virginia Tech this weekend.

**Xavier Tillman, the 6-foot-8 center from Grand Rapids (MI) Christian School, takes an official visit to Marquette this weekend.

**Purdue hosts 6-7 power forward Evan Battey, 7-1 center Matt Harms and Class of 2019 point guard Isaiah Thompson.

**Ira Lee, the 6-foot-7 power forward from Prolific (CA) Prep, will take his first official visit to California this weekend. Lee, who recently narrowed his list down to three schools also plans to visit Oregon (Oct. 7) and Arizona (Oct. 14).

**Gregory Calixte, the 6-8 forward from Mount Vernon (N.Y.) High School, trips to Quinnipiac before going to DePaul next weekend.

**Monmouth hosts Jamir Moultrie, a 6-foot point guard from Bishop McNamara High School (MD).

**Kimani Lawrence, the 6-7 small forward New Hampton (N.H.), trips to Arizona State, before visits USC (Oct. 1), Pitt (Oct. 8), Florida (Oct. 15) and Texas (Oct. 20).

**Arizona State also hosts 5-11 point guard Remy Martin of Sierra Canyon High School (CA).

**Justyn Hamilton, the 6-9 forward from Independence High School (N.C.), visits Temple.

**Oregon State hosts 6-7 forward Samson George of First Love Christian Academy (PA).

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NEW YORK - Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and assistant Kenny Johnson headlined a group of coaches who watched 7-foot-1 Class of 2018 big man Moses Brown and his Archbishop Molloy teammates on Thursday during an open gym.

Florida head coach Mike White and assistant Dusty May, as well as assistants from UConn, Indiana and Miami were also in the gym for Brown, 2018 wing Khalid Moore and 2019 point guard Cole Anthony.

Brown, who runs with New Heights on the Under Armour circuit, is ranked 19th on ESPN's Top 60 for the Class of 2018. Kansas, UConn, Arizona, Florida, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma State, Seton Hall, St. John's, UCLA and USC have all offered.

He has visits set to Maryland (Oct. 1), Florida (Oct 15) and Indiana (Oct. 22). He also plans to see Louisville at some point.

"The first time I met with coach [Pitino] was right here the first Wednesday of the school year," Brown said. "He said that he liked the way I developed footwork-wise. He sees me contributing big-time into their offense. He likes the way I can push the ball up the court not only be back-to-the-basket, but operate outside of what the usual big man does. And he realizes that the game is changing and he has big men that have the same body style as me, long and lanky. He focuses mainly on development and developing players, and getting them ready for the next level."

Asked what it meant that Pitino took a private jet to see him, Brown said: "It's just amazing. I really didn't expect to blossom so quickly, but I was just tired of being the average big man. I was just in the gym. I didn't want to be the average big man coming out of New York, I wanted to be special so I continue to be in the gym and I feel like I deserve it."

Kansas assistant Norm Roberts was at Molloy last week and extended an offer.

"Kansas, they were like one of the first big-time schools to be in contact with me," Brown said. "Them and Maryland. They finally offered me last week. Coach Norm Roberts said I had the best summer possible. He felt like I made up for everything I missed out on last summer following the injury [fractured tibia]. He likes my toughness. He likes that I'm stronger than I actually look, I play hard and I match my opponent's intensity."

Maryland has also been involved and head coach Mark Turgeon was in the gym this week.

"They've been here twice actually," Brown said. "They came first day of school and then Coach Turgeon came Tuesday. He just was talking to me about how I'm doing outside of school. With them, it's not only basketball. They say I'm their No. 1 priority, they want to get me back on campus to show me some love."

St. John's is also involved and Brown has worked out their several times.

"St. John's, I actually like St. John's," he said. "I was in there two weeks before school started. I was in there to workout, they let me use the gym. They said I could go anytime to put up shots, me and my father, so that's just a blessing, I could use the gym any time I want."

Georgetown is among the other schools involved, and Moses' father told me last week he likes their history of producing big men.

"I love Georgetown, it's a big-man school," Malcolm Brown said. "They basically said they were trying to build a team around him. They didn't realize he has the post skills that he has."

As for Florida, Indiana and other schools, he said: "I'm just going to wait and see what happens throughout the year."

Brown, meantime, expects to grow beyond his current 7-1.

Asked how tall he might get, he said, "I got to get an X-ray soon."

Molloy coach Mike McCleary says Brown's upside is through the roof.

"He's such a hard worker and he really came from nowhere because everyone thought he was basically a skinny kid who nobody thought could play, to the point now where he's being recruited by Kansas and Louisville and all those great schools," he said. "He's really made himself that. And the same thing in the classroom, he really works at being a student. He's willing to go to the study halls and do all the things so he does well

"So the sky's the limit for a kid who doesn't want to stop working."

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Kevin Knox, the 6-foot-8 small forward from Tampa (FL) Catholic, has set four official visits.

As Evan Daniels of Scout pointed out, Duke is the only official visit set for before the NCAA early signing period.

He recently cut his list to five schools, these four and Kansas.

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After all the epic battles that St. Anthony's and St. Patrick's staged over the years across the New Jersey basketball scene, it would be more than ironic if St. Anthony's now followed St. Patrick's lead and transitioned from a Catholic school to a private one.

Yet if you listen to Bob Hurley as he attempts to save St. Anthony's from its latest -- and perhaps greatest -- financial crisis, it sounds like that is a path he and the school are considering.

"We're going to come up with a plan," Hurley said during a recent interview with WFUV. "Will it be the plan to sustain it through whoever replaces me in the future? I don't know about that. But I think we could probably reinvent ourselves somewhat like The Patrick School did and still be able to give an affordable education to a kid in the inner-city that stimulates them to be perhaps better than their counterparts."

By way of a quick reminder, St. Pat's was forced to close at the end of the 2011-12 school year when their funding was cut by the Archdiocese. The school restructured and became an independent private high school known as The Patrick School (although I and many others still call it St. Patrick's.)

Now St. Anthony's says it needs $10-$20 million or the doors will close after the 2016-17 school year. Meantime, the school is holding a massive fundraising dinner on Friday called "50 Years of Chasing Perfect: A Tribute to Coach Hurley."

**Here's the GoFundMe link to help the school.**

While The Patrick School gets some financial support from NBA alums Kyrie Irving and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, St. Anthony's only NBA product at the moment is Kyle Anderson, who bought a table for Friday's fundraiser but doesn't make nearly the money that Irving and Kidd-Gilchrist do.

"We're going to be open for the whole year and we're going to try in January to decide where we are going," Hurley said.

It's hard to imagine St. Anthony's without Hurley, the Naismith Hall of Fame coach who has been featured in a book ("The Miracle of St. Anthony"), a documentary ("The Street Stops Here") and even on "60 Minutes."

The numbers on Hurley are mind-boggling: 13 Tournament of Champions titles, eight unbeaten seasons (including last year) and a career record of 1,162-119 (Yes, the man is more than 1,000 games over .500.)

What can't be found in all those numbers, of course, is what Hurley has done for the hundreds of kids who have played for him across the years. It his devotion to St. Anthony's and to Jersey City that kept him from leaving for a college job when he could have.

In the mid-1980s, Hurley was offered a job on Pete Gillen's staff at Xavier but ended up staying in Jersey City to coach his older son Bobby, who of course went on to lead Duke to two NCAA championships and is now the coach at Arizona State.

More recently, Hurley might have taken the Rutgers job after Mike Rice was fired, something he stated publicly at the time.

"After Mike Rice, if Rutgers had approached him more aggressively, he would have considered leaving," Ben Gamble, who played basketball for Hurley and served as one of his assistants for 14 years, told Jerry Carino of The Asbury Park Press. "He would have taken Rutgers and probably would have had the boys (Bobby and Dan) come with him to set the foundation. That was the closest he ever came."

Hurley, 69, never did leave Jersey City, where there is now a street named "Bob Hurley Way" that leads to the school. He cited legendary former Archbishop Molloy coach Jack Curran and others as his role models in that regard.

"Staying in high school seemed appropriate to me because Jack Curran did in New York City, Morgan Wootten did it [at DeMatha Catholic] in Washington D.C. and Warren Wolf, who's the famous football coach from Brick, N.J., did it for a long time," Hurley told WFUV. "My wife and I have lived in Jersey City our entire lives. It [leaving] could have been something that we gave some thought to years and years ago but when we look back we have absolutely no regrets. The relationships we've had with kids over the years have been tremendous. And the road not taken, we haven't had too many conversations about what would've happened. I think what has happened has been spectacular and we have absolutely no regrets at all."

Unlike Hurley, former St. Patrick's coach Kevin Boyle did leave New Jersey, departing in 2011 to become the head coach at Montverde (FL) Academy, which he has turned into a national powerhouse that has featured NBA lottery picks Ben Simmons and D'Angelo Russell.

Ironically, on the same day as St. Anthony's fundraiser, Boyle will be back home in the Garden State speaking at the Brayden Carr Foundation Coaches Clinic at Prudential Center. Boyle will speak along with Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall, Manhattan coach Steve Masiello and legendary former Princeton coach Pete Carill.

Boyle and Hurley had many great battles over the years -- most notably in a battle of undefeated teams in the unofficial national high school championship game in 2011 -- with Boyle often depicted as wearing the black hat to Hurley's white. But the truth wasn't that simple and Boyle did as much for the kids at St. Pat's as Hurley did for those at St. Anthony's.

"It was a very storied [rivalry] and great games," Boyle told me. "There was tremendous hype around St. Patrick's and St. Anthony's rivalry and if it's not the best rivalry in New Jersey in my time being alive, then it's at least arguably the best. It's a shame that it happens with a lot of schools, especially the small Catholic schools that we're seeing struggling financially.

"[St. Anthony's] has such rich tradition in basketball, kind of like St. Pat's. You never want to see those schools close and have to reinvent themselves. The Patrick School at least until this point has been able to survive it."

Now St. Anthony's may end up having to follow suit to stay afloat.

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If you needed any further proof that New York and New Jersey are loaded with young stars, look no further than this announcement from USA Basketball.

Cole Anthony (Archbishop Molloy H.S./New York, N.Y.); Bryan Antoine (Ranney School/Tinton Falls, N.J.) and Scottie Lewis (Ranney School/Hazlet, N.J.) were among 56 of the nation's top high school players invited to the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Oct. 8-9.

All three are extremely talented and potential future pros.

It's not hard to understand why Louisville's Rick Pitino was expected at Molloy on Thursday for Anthony and his teammates, or why Kentucky's John Calipari saw Lewis and Antoine last week at Ranney. Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon, Florida's Mike White and assistants from Duke, Seton Hall, UConn, Stanford and Drexel are due Thursday night at Ranney.

 

Here's the full release:

The eighth annual USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team October Minicamp will include 14 gold medalists among 56 of the nation's top high school players on Oct. 8-9, 2016, at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The players will train from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. (all times are MDT) and 4:30-7 p.m. on Oct. 8 and from 9-11:30 a.m. and 4-5:30 p.m. on Oct. 9.

The minicamp is designed to familiarize players with USA Basketball and to help USA Basketball field competitive, experienced teams for upcoming competitions.

Seventeen players are slated to graduate high school in 2017 and are eligible for the 2017 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team and the 2017 USA Basketball Men's U19 World Championship Team; seven players born in 2000 are eligible for the 2018 USA Basketball Men's U18 National Team; and 32 players born in 2001 or 2002 are eligible for the 2017 USA Basketball Men's U16 National Team and the 2018 USA Basketball Men's U17 World Championship Team.

"We have seen how beneficial the minicamp has been for everyone involved over the past seven additions, and we look forward to another successful event in 2016," said Sean Ford, USA Basketball Men's National Team Director and chair of the USA Basketball Men's Developmental National Team Committee, which is responsible for selecting rosters for the annual Nike Hoop Summit and the U16 and U17 national teams.

As it has been since the inaugural camp in 2009, the minicamp will be led by Don Showalter (USA Basketball Youth Division Director of Coach Development), who has led USA Basketball U16 and U17 teams to eight straight gold medals. Under Showalter, USA teams have won four straight FIBA U17 World Championships (2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016) and four consecutive FIBA Americas U16 Championships (2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015) while compiling a remarkable 50-0 overall record.

"The minicamp is the first introduction to USA Basketball for these U16 players," Showalter said. "The success we have enjoyed at the U16 and U17 level starts with this training camp. It is a great opportunity for players to learn some of our system and for the coaching staff to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of the team. The addition of the Hoop Summit and U18 player pool makes this minicamp extremely competitive and greatly helps to evaluate young talent."

Showalter will be assisted during the minicamp by five court coaches, including Jay Blossom (Webster Groves H.S., Mo.), Corey Frazier (St. Louis Eagles AAU, Mo.), Mike Jones (DeMatha Catholic H.S., Md.), Miles Simon (California Supreme AAU) and Terrance Williams (ProScholars Athletics Cardinals AAU, N.Y.).

The 17 players eligible for the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit and 2017 USA U19 team include 14 gold medalists.

Wendell Carter Jr. (Pace Academy/Fairburn, Ga.); Kevin Knox II (Tampa Catholic H.S./Riverview, Fla.); and Gary Trent Jr, (Prolific Prep, Calif./Burnsville, Minn.) are two-time gold medalists who won titles at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship.

Returning from the gold-medal winning 2016 USA U18 Championship Team are: Mohamed Bamba (Westtown School, Pa./New York, N.Y.); Matt Coleman (Oak Hill Academy/Norfolk, Va.); Hamidou Diallo (Putnam Science Academy, Conn./Corona, N.Y.); Quade Green (Neumann-Goretti H.S./Philadelphia, Pa.); Michael Porter Jr. (Father Tolton Catholic/Columbia, Mo.); P.J. Washington (Findlay Prep/Henderson, Nev.); and Trae Young (Norman North H.S./Norman, Okla.).

Jaren Jackson Jr. (La Lumiere School/Carmel, Ind.); Collin Sexton (Pebblebrook H.S./Mableton, Ga.); and Austin Wiley (Spain Park H.S./Hoover, Ala.) won gold at the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship, while Jarred Vanderbilt (Victory Prep/Houston, Texas) won his gold at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.

Rounding out the Nike Hoop Summit and 2017 U19 hopefuls are: Trevon Duval (Advanced Prep International, Texas/New Castle, Del.); Mitchell Robinson (Chalmette H.S./Meraux, La.); and Lonnie Walker (Reading HS/Reading, Pa.).

Eligible for the 2018 USA U18 national team are: Cole Anthony (Archbishop Molloy H.S./New York, N.Y.); Bryan Antoine (Ranney School/Tinton Falls, N.J.); Christian Brown (A.C. Flora H.S./Hopkins, S.C.); Matthew Hurt (John Marshall H.S./Rochester, Minn.); Scottie Lewis (Ranney School/Hazlet, N.J.); Onyeka Okongwu (Chino Hills H.S./Chino, Calif.); and Trendon Watford (Mountain Brook H.S./Mountain Brook, Ala.).

The 32 hopefuls for the 2017 U16 national team include: Vernon Carey Jr. (University School/Southwest Ranches, Fla.); Zachary Dieterich-Harvey (Hayden H.S./Topeka, Kan.); Eric Dixon (Abington H.S./Willow Grove, Pa.); Juwan Gary (Gray Collegiate Academy/Columbia, S.C.); De'Vion Harmon (Guyer H.S./Corinth, Texas); Jaime Jaquez Jr. (Adolfo Camarillo H.S./Camarillo, Calif.); Wendell Moore Jr. (Cox Mill H.S./Charlotte, N.C.); Joshua Nickelberry (Trinity Christian School/Eastover, N.C.); Isaac Okoro (McEachern H.S./Powder Springs, Ga.); Quinn Slazinski (Westbury Christian School/Sugar Land, Texas); Isaiah Stewart (McQuaid Jesuit H.S./Rochester, N.Y.); Romeo Weems (New Haven H.S./New Haven, Mich.); James Wiseman (The Ensworth School/Nashville, Tenn.); Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Seton Hall Prep/Short Hills, N.J.); Posh Alexander (Our Saviour Lutheran/Brooklyn, N.Y.); Dudley Blackwell (Westminster Academy/Miramar, Fla.); Gregory Brown III (Vandegrift H.S./Austin, Texas); Jy'are Davis (Sanford School/Newark, Del.); Gerald Doakes (Jacksonville Lighthouse/Jacksonville, Ark.); Xavier Foster (Oskaloosa H.S./Oskaloosa, Iowa); Jalen Green (San Joaquin Memorial H.S./Fresno, Calif.); Lynn Greer III (Roman Catholic H.S./Philadelphia, Pa.); R.J. Hampton (Little Elm H.S./Little Elm, Texas); Elijah Hutchins-Everett (DePaul Catholic H.S./Wayne, N.J.); Justin Lewis (Calvert Hall College H.S./Baltimore, Md.); Nico Mannion (Pinnacle H.S./Scottsdale, Ariz.); Carson McCorkle (Broughton H.S./Raleigh, N.C.); Shemar Morrow (La Mirada H.S./Sacramento, Calif.); Jeremy Roach (Paul VI Catholic H.S./Leesburg, Va.); Jaden Springer (Rocky River H.S./Charlotte, N.C.); Nate Tabor (Sacred Heart H.S./Waterbury, Conn.); and Isaiah Todd (John Marshall H.S./Richmond, Va.).

Along with the 17 players from the class of 2017, 20 will graduate high school in 2019 and 19 are from the class of 2020.

 

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 (Kevin Jairaj)
(Kevin Jairaj)

Marcus Santos-Silva, a 6-7, 260-pound power forward from Vermont Academy and the BABC AAU program, committed to VCU over Temple on Wednesday night.

He has visited both schools.

"Marcus is 6-7, 260 with a 7-foot wingspan and a nose for the basketball," Vermont Academy coach Alex Popp said. "He has soft hands and impressive footwork. Because of his ability to rebound the basketball, he will be an impact player at Temple or VCU. He's probably the second best rebounder to ever wear Vermont Academy black and orange, the first being Tyrique Jones (who plays at Xavier). Marcus still has his senior season to change that opinion, though."

Santos-Silva joins point guard Lavar Batts in VCU's 2017 recruiting class.

 

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Dec 5, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo talks to crowd after a game against the Binghamton Bearcats at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Carter)
Dec 5, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo talks to crowd after a game against the Binghamton Bearcats at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Carter)

To honor Nike founder Phil Knight, the company created the PK80, a 16-team, early-season men's college basketball tournament that will take place over Thanksgiving week in 2017 from Portland, Ore.

One of the largest regular-season tournaments in college basketball history, sporting a field featuring some of the top schools in the nation, will be played Nov. 23-26 from the Rose Quarter's Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Participating schools include Arkansas, Butler, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Portland, Portland State, Stanford and Texas.

"Phil Knight has been a visionary and an innovator for a long time," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "PK80 is a unique way we can honor him and the contributions he has made not just to the game of basketball, but to all of sport." 

"We've been fortunate to play in some incredible preseason events, but we've never been a part of something this amazing - both in terms of quantity and quality of the teams," said Michigan State's Tom Izzo, one of six active college coaches inducted to the Naismith Hall of Fame. This is sure to be an incredible experience for all the student-athletes. It's only fitting to pay tribute to a one-of-a-kind man with a one-of-a-kind event. Phil Knight has revolutionized modern day fitness, while setting the gold standard for shoes and apparel, not just in basketball, but across all other sports and activities as well." 

Two eight-team events - consisting of three games per team - will run simultaneously in the two buildings with the crowning of two bracket champions. All games from Portland will be televised on ESPN networks.

Field Highlights

·         The schools have combined for 23 National Championships, more than 85 Final Fours, more than 380 NCAA Championship appearances and more than 680 NCAA Championship wins

·         Ten of the 16 schools have won a NCAA title

·         Nine of the past 13 National Champions are in the field

·         Thirteen of the 16 schools have made at least one Final Four appearance

Ticket information and tournament bracket will be announced at a later date.

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 (Brad Rempel)
(Brad Rempel)

HILLSIDE, N.J. -- Just about everything that could go wrong for Richard Pitino and his Minnesota team did go wrong last season.

On the court, the Gophers went 8-23 overall, 2-16 in the Big Ten Conference. They didn't win a league game until late February when they knocked off then-No. 6 Maryland and Rutgers back-to-back. Minnesota would go on to drop its final four games, including one at Rutgers on March 5 that marked the Scarlet Knights' lone Big Ten win of the season.

Off the court, Pitino on March 1 had to suspend three players -- Kevin Dorsey, Nate Mason and Dupree McBrayer -- after they released a sex tape on social media.

A few days later, the Gophers lost senior captain Joey King to a broken foot.

"Unfortunately we had to suspend some guys," Pitino, 34, said Tuesday while recruiting at St. Patrick's High School. "We had a bad injury to Joey King but it's kind of one of those things where if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger. And it was good for all those young guys. It was good for Nate Mason, it was good for Dupree McBrayer, Bakari Konate, Jordan Murphy. They experienced a really, really tough league and they did it on the court and I think they'll learn from it this year."

(Point guard Dorsey transferred to Colorado State at the end of the season.)

Heading into a new season, Pitino is feeling good -- and well he should.

On the recruiting front, the Gophers have scored two major coups in an 11-day span by landing New York City point guard Isaiah Washington and then adding New Jersey shooting guard Jamir Harris -- effectively giving them their backcourt of the future.

The high-scoring Washington is arguably New York's top player at the moment, and Pitino and assistant Kimani Young were set to visit him at St. Raymond's High School on Wednesday.

On Tuesday Pitino and Young were at St. Patrick's, the heralded New Jersey powerhouse that produced McBrayer, a 6-foot-4 guard from Queens, and now boasts Harris, who verbally committed on Wednesday morning.

As for this season, Pitino believes his team is more ready to compete in the tough Big Ten with the additions of two transfers, 6-8 former Texas A&M forward Davonte Fitzgerald and 6-9 center Reggie Lynch, an Illinois State transfer.

"You add those two guys, they've got great experience and they've been good in good leagues," Pitino said. "We added [6-4 graduate transfer guard] Akeem Springs from Milwaukee, who was a very good player for a good team. So obviously he's got great intangibles and he's used to winning.

"And then you add three freshmen, [6-8 guard] Amir Coffey was one of the better seniors in the country last year; [6-7 forward] Michael Hurt was runner-up Mr. Basketball in our state; and [6-9 forward] Eric Curry was a top-100 player, so it's a much more complete team."

Hurt is the older brother of 6-9 Class of 2019 star Matthew Hurt, a potential future lottery pick who is being courted by bluebloods like Kansas, Louisville and North Carolina, as well as Minnesota.

In the non-conference, Minnesota has home games against St. John's and Arkansas. The Gophers also play at Florida State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and also face Vanderbilt on a neutral court. Then comes the brutal Big Ten slate with traditional powers Michigan State, Indiana, Wisconsin and Maryland.

But with last year behind him, Pitino feels a whole lot more optimistic about this season.

"I feel like we have the versatility, the talent, knock on wood if stay healthy," he said, "that we can compete with anybody in our conference."

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ESPNU will once again televise Kentucky's NBA Combine, which is set for Oct. 9 from 7-9 p.m.

The Wildcats will go through various agility and shooting drills in addition to 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 scrimmaging.

All 30 NBA teams are expected to attend as they have in previous years.

Doris Burke, Seth Greenberg and Fran Fraschilla will be on hand to call the action for ESPNU, along with Andy Katz, who will handle sideline reports.

It's the third season in a row UK has had a practice televised live.

Kentucky is coming off a 27-9 season that included both the Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament championships. The Wildcats will have to replace 75.8 percent of their scoring and 70.0 percent of their rebounding from a year ago, but as John Calipari has done in every season he's been at UK, he's reloaded with even more talent.

Calipari will welcome six newcomers to the 2016-17 roster, including Bam Adebayo, Brad Calipari, De'Aaron Fox, Wenyen Gabriel, Sacha Killeya-Jones and Malik Monk. Adebayo, Fox and Monk are projected first-round picks in 2017 by DraftExpress.com.

In addition to the star-studded recruiting class, UK will also welcome back experience with sophomores Isaiah Briscoe and Isaac Humphries, and seniors Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins and Mychal Mulder.

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 (Brad Rempel)
(Brad Rempel)

HILLSIDE, N.J. -- One day after a home visit with Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino and assistant Kimani Young, St. Patrick's senior guard Jamir Harris verbally committed to the Big Ten program.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Harris, who runs with the NJ Playaz AAU program on the Nike EYBL circuit, is a natural shooter who will join St. Raymond's point guard Isaiah Washington in giving Minnesota a talented and tough backcourt going forward.

"I know Isaiah, he's a real cool dude," Harris told me recently. "I'm happy for him with his decision."

Stanford, Fordham, USC, Seton Hall, Hofstra, Old Dominion and Princeton were among the other schools recruiting Harris, with Stanford in to see him on Tuesday during an open gym. He was supposed to take an official visit to the Pac-12 school next month, but Minnesota closed the deal.

"With his shot-making ability and great work ethic, Jamir will be a great asset and addition to the Minnesota program and the Big Ten," Playaz coach Jamal Slappy said. "We couldn't be more proud of his accomplishment."

Said St. Pat's co-coach Chris Chavannes: "Jamir's upside is his unbelievable work ethic which is second to none. He is now shooting the ball with more accuracy, speed and range. He has also developed into one of the best on-ball defenders in high school. He's a great get for Coach Pitino."

Added Mike Rice, St. Pat's other co-coach: "He's one of the hardest workers I have ever coached. His ability to make a high percentage of perimeter shots and an elite level sets him apart. He's a big part of why The Patrick School is where it is today."

Asked what role he will bring to college, Harris said: "Just whatever the coach needs me to be. If he needs me to play the one and make plays for others, or score on the wing, or score from the ball position, I can do as well. It's whatever the team needs."

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New York, NY - August 18, 2016: Under Armour Elite 24 (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline)
New York, NY - August 18, 2016: Under Armour Elite 24 (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline)

HILLSIDE, N.J. -- Kentucky head coach John Calipari is meeting with some of his prime Class of 2017 targets for a second time.

Calipari and assistant Tony Barbee met Tuesday with the 6-foot-6 Hamidou Diallo at Putnam Science Academy (CT) and will meet again on Thursday with St. Patrick's (N.J.) big man Nick Richards.

Calipari previously visited with Diallo on Sept. 12, and Richards on Sept. 15.

"We want you and you would be a great fit," was Calipari's message to Diallo according to Putnam coach Tom Espinosa.

As first reported here, Diallo will be eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft, but has said he wants to go the college route. UConn, Arizona, Indiana and Syracuse have also met with Diallo, while Arizona State's Anthony Coleman is due in on Wednesday.

Meantime, the 6-11 Richards said he will meet again Thursday with Calipari after last week's home visit.

"It was a home visit and then we talked for like an hour about coming down for a visit to the school," Richards said Tuesday after an open gym.

Richards said he plans to take an official to Kentucky the weekend of Sept. 30.

"I'm probably going to do it next weekend, the 30th," he said. "It's probably going to be me and mom going, just check it out."

Asked what Kentucky's message was, Richards said, "Basically just come to the school. They told me about the environment of the school, how it is before games, after games, during the games. They showed me a video of what happens. It was pretty exciting."

Kentucky could lose several bigs to the NBA after 2017, most notably projected Top-1o pick Bam Adebayo.

"Yeah, we was talking about the NBA for a little bit," Richards said. "He was just telling me what Kentucky can do for me as a person and develop my game."

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a current NBA player whose jersey is retired at St. Patrick's, has known Richards for some time and also been recruiting him to Kentucky.

Most importantly, Richards said his mother, Marion Tenn, likes Kentucky.

"She likes Cal, he keeps it real with her," he said. "She likes the energy that they give to us.

Meantime, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim is due in next Tuesday to meet Richards.

"I'm looking to visit Syracuse," he said. "I don't know when."

And he said he's also considering UConn, Indiana and Arizona, with Arizona's Sean Miller expected in to see him next Wednesday..

"I'm considering every school," he said.

As for a timetable on a decision, Richards said: "Whenever I have that feeling, I'll just commit."

 

KENTUCKY LOOKING AT 2018S and 19s, TOO

**Calipari is expected to check out 6-1 2019 point guard Al-Amir Dawes of St. Pat's on Thursday when he sees Richards. The St. Pat's coaches said Calipari was intrigued by the big point guard, who on Tuesday added an offer from Minnesota to go with Seton Hall, Rutgers and DePaul.

"That would make me feel more grateful," Dawes said. "That would make me work harder having them come watch me."

 

**Kentucky is also expected Friday at Hudson Catholic, head coach Nick Mariniello confirmed.

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino will also be into the New Jersey power on Friday focusing on 2018 forward Louis King.

Hudson Catholic features the trio of King, point guard Jahvon Quinerly and shooting guard Luther Muhammad.

For more, read this.

 

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Feb. 25, 2012; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury directs players on the court during the first half against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Coleman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-US PRESSWIRE (Kelly Lambert-US PRESSWIRE)
Feb. 25, 2012; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury directs players on the court during the first half against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Coleman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-US PRESSWIRE (Kelly Lambert-US PRESSWIRE)

Rick Stansbury has it rolling.

The Western Kentucky coach continued to add to his recruiting riches on Tuesday by adding Josh Anderson, a 6-foot-4, 175-pound guard from Baton Rouge (La.) Madison Prep Academy.

Anderson, who also considered N.C. State, is ranked by 247Sports Composite as the No. 52 prospect overall in his class and the No. 13 shooting guard prospect in his class. He averaged 18.1 points, 5.8 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game as a junior at Madison Prep.

Western Kentucky also added 6-10 big man Mitchell Robinson and former Syracuse commit Moustapha Diagne beginning in 2017.

Scout.com now has them with the No. 5-ranked recruiting class for 2017.

They have also added three graduate transfers in Pancake Thomas (Hartford), Junior Lomomba (Providence) and Que Johnson (Washington State), meaning this team should be a factor in Conference USA.

Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com first reported the Anderson news.

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D.J. Harvey, the 6-6 wing from DeMatha Catholic (MD), committed to Notre Dame on Tuesday night.

Ranked the No. 8 small forward in the Class of 2017 by 247Sports.com, he also considered Alabama, Notre Dame, Texas and UConn.

"I'm going to Notre Dame and I chose Notre Dame because of the relationship that I have with the coaching staff and how interested and how devoted coach [Mike] Brey was in me through the whole process," Harvey told Scout.com.

Harvey had a home visit Monday night with Brey and his entire staff that his father, Darren, said was "great." Brey is a DeMatha alumnus and a former assistant coach at the school.

"I can help with versatility and athleticism," Harvey told Scout. "I'm a big two guard. I can defend the one through the four. I can bring scoring right away. I can also bring that defensive ability."

Harvey is Notre Dame's first 2017 commit. They remain in the mix for shooting guard Darryl Morsell and power forward Nicolas Claxton, among others.

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Wendell Carter Jr., who this summer 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 four schools.

The 6-foot-10 Carter Jr. trimmed North Carolina, Arizona, Kentucky and Cal from his previous list of eight.

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. Trent Jr. has set officials to UCLA, Arizona, Duke and Michigan State and is also considering Kentucky.

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."

Interestingly, Harvard made the final four for Carter Jr. and the final seven for Bamba.

"It could happen, but it's not a package deal," Bamba said this summer. "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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