Update: Pelle will not sign with St. John's as reported earlier.
The headline should read "again", of course. Zagsblog is reporting that Norvel Pelle will send a Letter of Intent to St. John's during this early signing period. He will come to the Queens campus in the fall of 2012. Norvel originally committed to St. John's in last fall's signing period. But Pelle, who had attended a trio of southern California high schools, was deemed academically ineligible after the NCAA did not accept grades from summer courses taken at Rise Academy in Philadelphia. Since then, Pelle has been at the Phelps School in the Philadelphia area, working to become eligible for the coming school year. Hopefully, this spells the end of a long journey for the slim center, and he can start his collegiate career. The news that coveted 6'10, 200 pound forward/ center Norvel Pelle is back in the fold is good news for St. John's fans who have weathered some bad recruiting news, and need a positive bump.
Pelle, a center from California, was considered by one recruiting source as the best player the Red Storm recruited last fall. He's an athletic, mobile center who is quick off of the court to block shots. He's still in need of some bulk to help him compete on the blocks against Big East forwards, but he will provide an intriguing and speedy option in the front court.
St. John's is also expected to receive a commitment from guard Darrick Wood, who we have profiled here on the Rumble. The skinny guard (likened to Jeremy Lamb) is a developing player, refining his game.
Meanwhile, Ricardo Gathers is deferring signing with a college until the spring, citing uncertainties about the Red Storm.
From Red Storm Sports last fall, a quote from Price High School coach Michael Lynch on Norvel Pelle:
I haven't coached any pros yet, but he definitely has the potential to be a pro basketball talent and help the St. John's program. He has some God-given talent, nothing that a weight room or exercising can put in him. It is God-given ability. He is the type of player that can block a shot, make pass, and go up the court to catch that pass at the other end and score. He's multi-talented, he can face up out to 17 feet. He has a nice stroke and can put the ball on the floor. If I had to throw a name out there, he'd be almost in the area of a young version of Kevin Garnett - inside, outside, run the floor and finish.
Obviously, the "Kevin Garnett" thing is one man's opinion, but there's no doubt that Pelle is very talented. See the videos below.