St. John's basketball returns five talented players... and the coaching staff is looking far and wide to add to that core. The hunt for talented ballers to join the newcomers Jamal Branch, Jakarr Sampson, and Felix Balamou continues across the Atlantic Ocean, where St. John's coach Steve Lavin is traveling. He tweeted that he is heading to Paris, Belgium, and Spain.
It's hard to know what's in Paris and Belgium, but we do know that Lavin is making his way to that essential destination for basketball recruiters looking for Division I basketball talent - the Canarias Basketball Academy.
@STJCoachLavin Look forward to seeing you 2moro Steve! Safe flight— Rob Orellana (@CBAcademy) April 4, 2012
Off the southern coast of Morocco (but still a Spanish island), the Basketball Academy (aka CBA) houses a number of developing international talents every year - including a number of Seton Hall recruits like Haralds Karlis and St. Bonventure's Charlon Kloof - helping them gain exposure.
More on CBA and interesting prospects Steve Lavin might be looking at, below the fold.
This year, CBA traveled to the United States to play Monroe College (the school of St. John's targets Marco Bourgault and Orlando Sanchez), and in the National Prep School Invitational, playing against NIA Prep, Notre Dame Prep (against Pitt recruit Steven Adams), Bridgton Academy (where Darrick Wood plays and where Amir Garrett did prep work), and New Hampton Prep (with Notre Dame commit Zach Auguste).
Players of note include lefty wing Shane Hammink - a 6'6 Dutch player born in Louisiana, where his dad played for Louisiana State. He has LSU, Miami, Northeastern, Florida, and Iowa interest / offers at last update. (Video)
CBA has a 7'3 Slovakian center Boris Bojanovsky with offers from North Carolina State, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. The height has appeal, but Steve Lavin's has tended to prefer smaller, more mobile forwards.
CBA also includes guard Oskars Reinfelds, who played well during the NPSI tournament; point guard Simon Krajovic; a number of tall players, and top 2014 American forward Khadeem Lattin, who has chosen to leave the US to finish high school - and his training - at CBA.
There are no concrete indications that the St. John's staff is targeting these players; we will keep you updated as hints leak out.
As an aside, former Fordham center - and possibly decommitted Nebraska JUCO recruit - Fahro Alihodzic had been working out at CBA with Coach Orellana. Alihozic is traveling to France, seemingly to play in the 23rd Basketball World Tournament in Tourcoing - a city in the northeast near Lille, on the Belgian border. CBA participated in that tournament last year, and is scheduled to play this year.