This year's July live period - where college coaches can see 2012 prospects and beyond and be seen by them - is going to be much less interesting than in years past for Red Storm fans.
Under Norm Roberts, the recruiting periods were a time to see if a couple of good prospects would just list St. John's, maybe be swayed by the lure of staying close to their hometown family and friends. Or to see if an under-the-radar prospect would pop up and commit to the family atmosphere before he blew up and had the Boeheims and Gary Williamses and Calhouns sniffing after his game.
Last year, the game changed. The goals for recruiting the 2011 class had to be met within months, with the staff having laser-focus on prospects who would fall for Steve Lavin's and Tony Chiles' charms and come to the school in Queens that hadn't had much reputation among top ballers for years. Obviously, the St. John's coaching staff did a good job, restocking the team with a number of top-tier prospects.
This year, again, is different.
What we'll be watching for from the Red Storm staff:
+ The pursuit of the two main targets, Kyle Anderson and Ricardo Gathers. Coast to Coast recruiting thinks that Anderson might well end up at St. John's; meanwhile, with Gathers' trips to NY and friendships, signs seem favorable for Gathers' commitment to St. John's, but that's mostly speculation.
+ The progress of Jevon Thomas. Thomas is working with John Wall's Reebok Challenge in Philadelphia, with a number of other solid top-100 prospects. Thomas, however, has some scoring flaws in his game; his physical ability seems to be there, but the shooting/ scoring/ consistency needs work. But Rivals' Eric Bossi writes:
From beginning to end, Wednesday was as good as we've ever seen the future St. John's point guard. Super quick with the ball in his hands, Thomas was a blur from end to end as he made plays for himself and others at the rim. He's not a jump shooter, but his creativity off the dribble can make up for it. With his quick feet and fast hands, Thomas has good potential on the defensive end as well if he'll add strength.
And that's promising. The Red Storm will play with a number of combo guards manning the point position; a true point guard could fit in nicely from 2012 on.
+ The new targets/ future targets for the Red Storm. Tony Chiles was watching local standout Jermaine Lawrence of Cardozo High in Queens; the 6'9 forward is at the Hoop Group Elite camp, and playing well. With some of the incoming roster possibly not staying all four years, with God'sGift Achiuwa and Malik Stith graduating in 2013, and with two scholarships still remaining (though held for Anderson and Gathers), the St. John's coaching staff has to get a leg up on the legwork of scouting and wooing the top impact players.