Name recognition pulls NY forward Kentan Facey away to Connecticut

Steve Lavin continues to train his sights on an impact player in next year's recruiting class.

Earlier this week, emerging 6'9" forward Kentan Facey was reportedly scheduled to visit St. John's on Friday after a trip to the University of Connecticut; Rutgers was also on his list of schools. Facey is a newer name in recruiting circles, a lanky and athletic post player with a high ceiling and potential to diversify his game. He's the kind of player who could be the missing piece in a faster paced Red Storm offense.

St. John's showed a lot of interest in Kentan Facey, and offered the Jamaican native a scholarship.

Unfortunately, the enduring magic of Connecticut won out before Facey could be wowed by Steve Lavin's rebuilding plan for St. John's. Kentan Facey committed to Connecticut last night.

More, below the fold.

Facey came to the United States as a raw, long player from Trelawny, Jamaica, where current Cleveland Cavaliers forward Samardo Samuels is from.

His athleticism has made him a coveted player and effective on defense ($). Facey attended both the LeBron James Skills Academy, the Amare Stoudamire Nike Skills Academy, and the adidas Invitational - three very prestigious honors, chances to match up against the nest high school players the United States has to offer.

Facey has, as they say, blown up.

The player also knows what he wants. He's a solid academic student and interested in studying civil engineering, per the Post, and had been enamored with Connecticut before coming to the US.

For St. John's, the loss of Facey illustrates the hard path the program has to continue to climb to get the best players. In college basketball, winning breeds admiration, and it becomes harder to pull teenagers from the schools they have their heart set on. But the Johnnies have been working on coveted local forward Jermaine Lawrence, and have interest in Ishmail Wainright from Missouri.

The Johnnies have one scholarship for the 2013-14 season [see St. John's scholarship chart] - so far. There is a solid chance that another player will emerge and leave for professional opportunities. Steve Lavin has not held his charges back from the next level, and has welcomed the publicity, most recently with Maurice Harkless who was drafted 15th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers.

It's too early to know exactly what the missing piece is for the team, which adds size in JaKarr Sampson, Orlando Sanchez, and Chris Obekpa to go along with guard play from D`Angelo Harrison and others. An athletic, scoring post player is likely high on the list.

What do you think is the missing piece for the Red Storm in the next two seasons?

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