"We have three front-line starters who can go out any day and get us a W,'' junior outfielder Jeremy Baltz said. "They all pitched great last weekend, gave us wins, and I think that's what sets us apart.'' Since the NCAA expanded its tournament to 64 teams and added the super regional round in 1999, St. John's has never gotten this far. The Red Storm have gotten close, though, having been to the regionals eight times in Ed Blankmeyer's 17 seasons as coach. While the school might be known more for basketball with Lou Carnesecca, Chris Mullin, Mark Jackson, Walter Berry and Malik Sealy gracing the hardwood over the years, the baseball program has also been a big hit - albeit perhaps a bit under the radar. The Red Storm's 34 NCAA appearances rank tied for eighth, among some of the traditional baseball powerhouses such Texas, Florida State and Miami. They also have been to the College World Series six times, but a 32-year absence and the lack of a consistent presence in Omaha by cold-weather programs had some wondering if St. John's could ever get back.
2013 targets Jermaine Lawrence, Jaren Sina, and Jerell Martin are all on the list of high school players on the NBA Players Association Top 100 High School Camp roster. Chris McCullough is also on the list... as is a 5'8" guard named Wayde Neblett from Archbishop Molloy - alma mater of diminutive Russ Smith. (UPDATE: Neblett, a possible misprint? No one has heard of him.)
"Edwards, a native of Harlem, N.Y., spent the last three seasons assisting head coach Jim Crowley at her alma mater St. Bonaventure. With the Bonnies, Edwards, a former guard for Crowley, was responsible for the organization and coordination of recruiting, game scouting and film breakdown, in addition to practice and game preparation. She also led the year-round preparation and execution of individual development workouts for both guards and post players. In 2011-12, Edwards was on staff for St. Bonaventure's historic run to the 2012 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16."
As Steve Megargee of Rivals.com (special to SI.com) tells us, coaches will now, beginning June 15, be able to make unlimited calls and send unlimited texts to recruits who have just finished their sophomore year of high school. The severity of the restrictions placed on recruiting have always seemed tight, but things may be loosening up a bit. Maybe Coach Lavin will need another new iPhone 4S sooner than he thought.
St. John's is listed as a "possible" visit, though he is focusing on Providence, South Carolina, and Auburn.
For fun: the reading level of sports writing. I won't tell you the Rumble's score, but I'll let you know that we are very, very readable.
Our friend Ian over at SB Nation's Indiana Pacers site Indy Cornrows is conducting an analysis (on his other blog, Hickory High) of 2012 NBA Draft entrees and which current NBA players they compare to. Ian's calculations, using simple objective measures, places Harkless in a category alongside Luol Deng, Rudy Gay, and others.
Official release for the currently-signed scholarship athletes - 2 freshmen recruits (Jakarr Sampson and Felix Balamou), 2 Junior College transfers (Orlando Sanchez and Marco Bourgault), and two 4-year college transfers (Jamal Branch and Max Hooper). Darrick Wood not included - may be finishing up his coursework before sending his LOI.