Coach K Says Tanking is ‘Stupid,’ But His Players Sure Seem Worth Tanking For

NEW YORK — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had just finished praising his potential one-and-done players Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones when he climbed down off the podium at Barclays Center and told me tanking for star players like them is “stupid.”

“It’s stupid to have it because one, you don’t know if you are going to get somebody and it’s a disservice to your fans,” Coach K told me after his No.-4 ranked Duke team beat Stanford, 70-59, to win the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Some 50 NBA personnel, including Boston Celtics President Danny Ainge and Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough, were in attendance.

About three miles away at Madison Square Garden, the dreadful Philadelphia 76ers had just fallen to 0-13 by losing to the Knicks,  a 4-10 outfit.

The Sixers players like Michael Carter-Williams may not be tanking themselves, but their front office has put them in a situation where they are threatening the NBA’s all-time record for futility.

“It’s a very murky puzzle at times,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said, according to the New York Times. “But I do think, despite our record, that I feel very good about where we’re at. I know that might sound funny when you look at the win-loss record. But the foundation of the system is in place.” To read more of this story, click here

National Prep Showcase: South Kent’s Travis Atson Tearing It Up, Adding Offers

Atson

By ARTHUR WARNER-KAMSLER

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Every year at the National Prep Showcase a lesser-known player makes his name.

Last year it was Donovan Mitchell of Brewster (N.H.) Academy — who is heading to Louisville next year.

And this year it was Travis Atson, the former Christ the King forward now at South Kent (Conn.).

A 6-foot-5 junior combo guard from Brooklyn, Atson scored 31 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and was clearly the best player on the court in a 66-61 win over Vermont Academy in a game that featured at least nine Division I prospects. To read more of this story, click here

Rutgers Watches Florida Wing Jonathan Laurent

JONATHAN-LAURENT-140115-PRO-2By JACK LeGWIN

Rutgers Assistant Coach Greg Vetrone got a chance to watch Dr. Phillips (Fla.) wing Jonathan Laurent on Friday night.

“Rutgers is definitely top four on my list,” Laurent told SNY.tv. “That’s one of the schools that I want to visit.”

Laurent said that he doesn’t plan on releasing his top four schools, but insisted that Rutgers was a favorite of his. To read more of this story, click here

UNLV Tells Zimmerman He Could Be ‘Hometown Hero’

By CHIP MILLER & ADAM ZAGORIA

NEW YORK – UNLV had just beaten Temple Saturday night in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Barclays Center and Lori Stevens was already texting words of congratulations to assistant coaches Ryan Miller and Todd Simon.

That is significant, of course, because Stevens is the mother of Stephen Zimmerman, the 7-footer from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman who took his last official visit to UNLV last weekend.

“Great visit, we had a lot of fun,” Stevens told SNY.tv. “It was kind of last minute and they did an amazing job.”

Stevens attended UNLV with head coach Dave Rice and said the visit was more like spending time with old friends. To read more of this story, click here

Matthews, Rhody Get Signature Win Over No. 21 Nebraska As Students Storm the Court

Rhody-winsBy VIN PARISE

KINGSTON, R.I. — When you go back and research a coach’s rebuilding job at a school, there’s the inevitable first question.

Who were the first big time recruits to buy in?

But after recruiting classes are established, there has to eventually be progress.

“It’s great to talk about it and have good buzz, but eventually we have to show improvement this year on the court and that’s when people truly buy in,” Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley told me in October at Atlantic-10 Media Day.

Saturday night was one of those nights. In front of a sellout crowd of nearly 7,000 fans at The Ryan Center, URI knocked off No. 21 Nebraska, 66-62, in a great battle that was shown on SNY. Students stormed the court after the win. To read more of this story, click here

Christian Wood Drops Double-Double as UNLV Bounces Back

WoodBy CHRIS RUSSELL

NEW YORK —  A day after losing to Stanford by 29 points, UNLV bounced back with a 57-50 Victory over the Temple Owls at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Barclays Center.

Much of UNLV’s success came from the courageous performance of 6-foot-11 sophomore Christian Wood, who went for 18 points on 8-for-15 shooting and 13 rebounds.

“We got to the locker room [at halftime] and the team told me I had to grab more rebounds, had to play harder and that they need me to play harder,” Wood said.

With close to 50 NBA personnel on hand, the forward from Long Beach, Calif., left a good impression. To read more of this story, click here

National Prep Showcase Rundown: JaQuan Lyle, Omari Spellman Talk Schools

By ARTHUR WARNER-KAMSLER

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — On Friday night, JaQuan Lyle should have been playing for the Oregon Ducks as they took on Toledo.

Instead, he started for IMG Academy in the National Prep Showcase at Albertus Magnus College.

Lyle, a 6-foot-5, 215 pound combo guard, scored 17 points and added two rebounds and two assists for IMG, where he is taking a postgraduate year after not being admitted to Oregon.

In what has been a hectic couple of months for Lyle, he is focused on figuring out where he will take his last couple of official visits. To read more of this story, click here