Early August notes on St. John's recruiting (updated)

The evaluation period is over. For most schools, it becomes a babysitting period, where coaches show love by sitting in the stands, intently watching their favorite prospects' games. But for the St. John's Red Storm staff of Steve Lavin, Tony Chiles, and Mike Dunlap, it's a true evaluation period - seeing these rising players in the context of what should be a fast-paced brand of St. John's basketball, in the context of guys who want to/ can play in the Big East, and in the context of attainable players for a complete rebuild.

Interestingly, Mike Dunlap was not prominently mentioned in the recruiting recaps of the big action in Las Vegas, Orlando, or New York. Perhaps he is scouting Europe or Australia? Which would make sense, since the 2011 high school class of US/ Canadian basketball players is lacking some height and girth.

First, enjoy Ballin' Is a Habit's consensus recruiting rankings - compiling results from Scout, Rivals, and ESPN into handy-dandy consensus numbers.

And read College Hoops Journal on the why having only the July period creates an overload for players and coaches alike. I wholly agree.

Mike Taylor spent the July recruiting period taking summer classes and working out on his own.

Angel Nunez left the NYC Gauchos and is playing for the Juice All-Stars. He apparently looked more the part of a top prospect at the last event of the live period, the New Heights Summer Classic at Fordham University. He was watched by the St. John's staff ($ required), as were Maurice Harkless, Myles Mack, Khem Birch, and Jordan Washington.

On Maurice Harkless, a poor evaluation ($) of him from the Boo Williams classic - questioning his motor/ passion - motivated him to excellent July performances. He is a top target for St. John's. And while it's always best to have players who ball with passion and energy at all times, he does have talent. From today's NY Post:

It, however, was the impetus for his breakout July, a month when the former Forest Hills star established himself, several college coaches said, as an elite high-major prospect. He consistently hit 3-pointers and finished in the paint against bigger and stronger opponents, but most importantly showed a motor that some had doubted existed.

"He proved he’s one of the top 20 or 30 prospects in the country as far as talent is concerned," one Division I assistant coach involved in his recruiting said.

"Playing at a high level consistently is what helped him," Blue said. "The important thing of July was for him to play hard, not take possessions off, to do what he was told."

Blue later added: "I knew he was one of the best players in the nation, he just had to show everybody else. I’d be surprised if he’s not a McDonald’s All-American."

JaKarr Sampson from Ohio will be visiting St. John's at some point. Others say he doesn't have a top 3, but it seems to be that he will at least take an official visit to St. John's, which means they're in his top 5. Sampson came for St. John's Elite Camp earlier this summer; now he has this to say:

"I would say St. John’s is in my top three. I really like St. John’s, actually. It will fit my playing style. They’re rebuilding their program."

Speaking of Sampson, he is one of many players St. John's was following and evaluating in Orlando ($). Others include Kareen Canty, Tyler Harris, Daniel Dingle, Tavon Sledge, Kamari Murphy, and Jevon Thomas.

Former Providence commit Naadir Tharpe decommitted when assistant coach Pat Skerry decided to work for fellow conference team Pittsburgh. He now lists St. John's on his list:

Playing time is important, too. So schools like Rutgers and St. John’s that can offer immediate PT in the backcourt are in good shape.

"Those schools don’t have any guards," he said. "They’re definitely high on my list."

Former St. John's commit Davontay Grace has a nice/ real profile on what's going on with him these days courtesy of the New York Post. He's gained a little weight, done some rapping, and has needed to refocus on the game. An evaluation of the player:

One Division I assistant coach familiar with Grace sees him as a Division I player, but not in the Big East. Grace, the coach said, still isn’t in good enough condition, and lacks explosion to the hoop. The coach also feels he would be a better fit as a shooting guard, where his best attributes – his perimeter jump shot and ability to get into the lane – would be better utilized.

"He can play mid-to-low Division I," the coach said.

When pressed, Grace said he’s fine with playing for a mid-major program or lower. At this point, all he needs is the chance.

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