St. John's banner class is coming to Queens, New York, home of Union Turnpike and a short F-train ride to the bright lights of Manhattan. There's more excitement for this banner class to hit campus than any other recent season of St. John's basketball. Most of the players are flying in from their home cities to begin the grind of the Big East... but will all of them suit up in the red and white this fall?
Already on campus, judging by their tweets and the news releases: forward God'sGift Achiuwa. Forward Amir Garrett. Guard/ forward Sir'Dominic Pointer. Forward JaKarr Sampson. Guard Phil Greene.
Unsure if Moe Harkless is in classes, but he's been around campus, being a Queens guy himself.
No word on D'Angelo Harrison yet. Nurideen Lindsey still has some classes to finish up over the summer. As for Norvel Pelle, he is taking summer classes at Rise Academy in Philadelphia to become NCAA eligible. Pelle's eligibility is an issue that has snuck up out of the gopher hole a few times this year. More, after the jump.
Hat tip to Adam Zagoria for getting the news and posting the video:
A few takeaways:
- Love the glasses look.
- Pelle is planning on being on the St. John's campus in August, so for the beginning of the school year - no summer sessions.
- Notes the challenge will be the young team learning to gel in the first two months.
- Also love how when describing how Lavin recruited him to St. John's, Norvel starts with "Coach Lavin's a very intellectual guy."
But being that someone reached out to say that Norvel Pelle wouldn't pass qualification to play in the NCAA next year, a month and a half after Norvel refuted rumors from usually-solid sources who also said Norvel wouldn't qualify, I'm not assuming that the classes at Rise Academy will get Pelle to where he needs to be.
It doesn't help that Rise Academy was featured 5 years ago in a New York Times article about basketball diploma mills, either. A lot can change in five years, but they really need that article to NOT be the first thing that comes up in a search for "Rise Academy Philadelphia".
For that matter, just because the recruits are on campus does not mean they are fully cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Some players have come to campus (Enes Kanter, Josh Selby) and have been delayed the chance to play for their college due to investigations - usually over money received. But the academic clearance can happen late in the summer, even for American-educated players.
The fact that the players are on campus, though, does mean that they and the school's compliance department, along with the Steve Lavin and the St. John's coaching staff, still feel comfortable enough in their eligibility that they can use the facilities and enroll in summer school.
And that's a good sign.