Adam Zagoria on Kyrie Irving, Recruiting, and Social Networking

Posted by nvr1983 on October 27th, 2009

When Adam Zagoria, a writer for SNY.tv and ZagsBlog.com, broke the news last Tuesday night about super-recruit Kyrie Irving‘s committing to Duke (note: initial report did not have Irving’s denial and had Chris Collins named in place of “[a Duke assistant]“) reaction across the blogosphere varied from ecstatic to negative after Irving denied Zagoria’s reports. After Irving eventually officially committed to Duke on an orchestrated ESPNU ceremony less than 48 hours after his initial denials and told multiple media outlets that he had decided on Duke long before he went on ESPNU several media members (Seth Davis and Gary Parrish being the most prominent) felt that Irving owed Zagoria an apology. We were a little more measured and felt that the entire episode reflected more of the circus that is college basketball recruiting. Since that time, the issue of the interaction between Zagoria (the journalist) and Irving (the recruit) has grown increasingly contentious on message boards across the Internet so we decided to go to Mr. Zagoria and get his take on it.

Rush the Court: What kind of background do you have doing this type of stuff [covering recruiting]?

Adam Zagoria: I’ve been a sportswriter for about 15 years and I’ve been doing basketball recruiting for I guess about 5 years. I was at a newspaper, The Bergen Record and The Herald News, in New Jersey for 10 years and I’ve been at SNY for about 2 years.

RTC: I don’t know if you have been reading what they have been saying on the Duke message boards and other places like that. Have you been keeping up with that at all or do you try to avoid that stuff?

AZ: I’ve read some of it. I’m pretty busy with my other job duties, but I’m aware of it.

RTC: Ok. Could you talk a little bit about how you developed a relationship with Kyrie Irving and his family and how that came about happening?

AZ: I cover metropolitan-area basketball and I know the players and coaches at the local high schools–St. Anthony’s, St. Patrick’s, and St. Benedict’s–for a number of years so I met Kyrie going to his team’s games and going to different events.

RTC: So your relationship with him was no different than the typical star recruit in the area? Or was it a little closer than that?

AZ: I have a lot respect for Kyrie and his family. I think they’re great people and he’s a tremendous player and person. I wish him nothing, but the best going forward.

RTC: Could you tell us a little bit about what happened when you broke the story [about his commitment]?

[Brief exchange where we tried to figure what day it was--Tuesday night].

AZ: My job is to report the news and break the news. I spoke to multiple sources who confirmed for me that he would in fact be going to Duke University. That’s my job as a reporter to report the news when a story happens and that’s pretty much it.

RTC: I know you said you have read some of the message boards, but have you read Seth Davis’ story about Irving’s reaction and what he thought about it? Do you have any reaction both (1) to Kyrie’s reaction and (2) what Seth said in that article?

AZ: I understand that Kyrie had an agreement with ESPN to announce his commitment there and he was trying to keep it in suspense as much as possible up until the time of the press conference and I guess that he put out some Tweets that night that he hadn’t chosen Duke. He was just trying to keep people in suspense. I think he ended up saying that during his ESPN interview. My basic feeling is that it is a reporter’s job to report the news when it happens. Reporters aren’t in the business of enabling press conferences or anything like that. Reporters are there to report the news when they have a story.

Credit: HighSchoolHoop.com

Credit: HighSchoolHoop.com

RTC: Then going on to Seth’s story. Seth Davis kind of insinuated . . . Actually he didn’t insinuate. He actually said it in the second to last line: “At the very least, he [Kyrie Irving] should apologize to Adam Zagoria.” How do you feel about that?

AZ: I don’t think that’s for me to say. I know Seth and I believe Gary Parrish of CBS Sports both said that. I certainly appreciate their support as fellow journalists, but that’s the position that they took. I don’t necessarily feel that way. I understand that Kyrie wanted to make his announcement and break the news, but I think most people kind of figured that he was going to end up going to Duke all along and again I feel that my job as a sportswriter is to report the news when it happens. I don’t work for ESPN. I don’t get a paycheck from ESPN. If I ever did then I would break stories for ESPN. I work for SNY and that’s who I break stories for.

RTC: Do you feel that your reputation or your ability to get information from recruits or their families was in any way damaged by what happened?

AZ: I haven’t had any problems so far. I talk to a lot of coaches and recruits every day. Everyone I had relationships with I continue to talk to. I hope people understand that I have a job to do and I reported something that something that was true and that Kyrie later confirmed to be true. I think people out there have to believe that the stories they hear from reporters are true.

RTC: One of the big stories this off-season (I guess there really is no off-season for recruiting) has been social networking, and I guess Kyrie is kind of at the head of the movement with this. How do you think social networking will impact the recruiting industry–people like you who cover the choices the recruits are making and what kind of trips they are taking? How do you think social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter will affect your ability to cover news and break stories in the future?

AZ: First of all, I definitely agree that Kyrie was on the cutting-edge of technology. I think he was one of first high-profile recruits to get on Twitter. He developed several thousand followers who were interested in his Tweets. He did those USTREAM interviews, which were very cutting-edge and developed a lot of interest. I think the technology complicates things for everybody not just me. I mean any recruit now can break a commitment or a list. Anyone can break any kind of news via Twitter and in a way that gets rid of the need for journalism in some ways. I mean if Shaquille O’Neal or Kyrie Irving can break news on Twitter that takes out the need for reporters.

RTC: Do you feel it threatens your job or the industry?

AZ: Yeah. I think there more and more people trying to get involved in recruiting and break recruiting news. There are more and more outlets for people to break their commitments whether it is by Twitter or Facebook or various websites or newspaper or TV stations. So the more of those things that develop the more different ways that news can be broken and commitments can be broken. I personally don’t feel threatened in any way by that. There is always going to be a need for reporters to provide accurate, true information and that’s what I’ll continue to do.

RTC: Is there anything else you wanted to add about the situation?

AZ: Just that I think that reporters have a job to do and people have to understand that reporters are out there trying to report the fact. When they have a story they go with it and that’s pretty much the bottom line as far as journalism goes.

RTC: Have you heard from Kyrie Irving since you broke the story?

AZ: Not since his ESPN interview.

nvr1983 (1303 Posts)


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12 Responses to “Adam Zagoria on Kyrie Irving, Recruiting, and Social Networking”

  1. matt says:

    Adam has reduced himself to nothing more than a tabloid journalist. His comments in this article reflect his own internal struggle between what is reportable as news and what is morally and ethically the proper thing to do.

    “That’s my job as a reporter to report the news when a story happens and that’s pretty much it.” “When they have a story they go with it and that’s pretty much the bottom line as far as journalism goes.”

    It’s obvious to me that Mr. Zagoria knows that scooping this story was “pretty much” a slimy thing to do. It would have been easy for him to keep his trap shut and allow Kyrie to make his announcement on his own terms. Several people besides Mr. Zagoria knew of Kyrie’s intentions to commit to Duke and chose not to spoil this young man’s opportunity to be in the spotlight. Shame on you, Adam, for not listening to your intuition, and rationalizing your decision to report this information under the guise of some type of journalistic responsibility. This reader doesn’t buy into that rationale.

    To Mr. Irving: I’m glad that I got to listen to your announcement on ESPNU, and I am ecstatic that you chose to attend Duke University. Best of luck with your college career!

  2. Stuart says:

    Adam did his job. Had he gotten his confirmation from Kyrie on a confidential basis and violated a promise, that would obviously be bad. Kyrie had every right to deny his decision to anyone until he was ready to affirm it (once again, assuming it was not he who provided Adam a scoop). The only real jerk here is Seth Davis, who seems to think that the world has some obligation to journalists.

  3. Grammy says:

    Matt,

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. Imagine how excited Kyrie must have been at the prospect of making his announcement on TV. Only to have Mr. Zagoria take away his thunder. Slimy is too kind a word.

  4. Sean Thomes says:

    Zagoria calling himself a “journalist” is laughably stupid.

    His next job, telling 5 year olds that there is no Santa.

    kudos jacka**

  5. Don McClintock says:

    Although Mr. Zagoria feels that it is his job to “report the news”, I don’t see where it is his job to make the news. He clearly was attempting to scoop the story ahead of the announcement date, that had already been established. Reporting the news is about telling the story that has occurred. Making the news is about creating a story before it has occurred, true or otherwise.

    Kyrie Irving owes this guy nothing. Zagoria is trying to make a living on the back of 17 and 18 year olds. The problem is not the kid, it is the “adult”. If an appology is owed, it is from Zagoria to Irving for trying to steal his moment.

    Lose the ego Zagoria.

  6. rtmsf says:

    It seems as if the best way for KI and any other recruits to handle this in the future is just to not tell anyone (coaches included) until they make their big decision, whether on national tv or wherever. Then there’s no “scoop” to be delivered.

    What would have been the harm in waiting 2 more days to tell the Duke staff along with the rest of the world at the same time?

    Otherwise, players will leave open the possibility of leaks such as happened here, and accusations of lies, sliminess, and the like.

    Bottom line – like everything else in life – if you really want it to be private, then don’t open your mouth.

  7. Brian says:

    I totally disagree with Matt. Zagoria got the scoop and reported it, then Irving lies about it for his own selfish interests. I am familiar with Zagoria’s coverage and he certainly is no angel. However, I have to stand with him on this issue. Irving has been parading himself around like no other during this recruitment, committed to a school on his visit and then lied to Georgia Tech and Seton Hall about taking visits to those schools.

    Why does he need to be “in the spotlight?” He doesn’t deserve any spotlights, he should shut his mouth and play hard for the school he choses and be responsible and truthful with regards to the other schools on his list.

    It’s so sad that kids have to make a big spectacle of a college choice when most of them won’t even be there for more than 2 years. I don’t know how long Irving will be at Duke, but this trend is troubling to me. We are definitely in a me-first generation now and it’s a sad reflection on society.

  8. link2peer says:

    Rush The Court » Blog Archive » Adam Zagoria on Kyrie Irving … http://bit.ly/EMLnJ

  9. Mark says:

    Wow, who cares?

  10. jstevrtc says:

    Judging by the number of people who have read this story, Mark?

    LOTS of people.

    John Stevens
    RTC

  11. Rick Douglass says:

    ADAM…GET A LIFE. YOU ARE A LOSER!!!!!!

  12. Rick Douglass says:

    Adam is a tabloid reporter who stole a 17 year old’s dream to announde on ESPN U. He owes Kyriie and his family an apology for manufacturing a story without speaking with any of them. He completely manufactured the story and incorporated old quotes from Kyrie and his father to corroborate his chessy story. That is journalism at its best.

    I have lost all respect for this reporter and hope the kids BAN him going forward. This is not the first I have heard stories involving this reporter.

    Hopefully the kids will boycott him going forward.

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