Recruiting update: Jermaine Lawrence verbally commits to Cincinnati

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Lawrence chose Cincinnati over St. John's on Sunday.

Steve Lavin's 2013 recruiting class remains empty.

Highly-touted recruiting prospect Jermaine Lawrence announced via his Tumblr page on Sunday that he has verbally committed to Cincinnati. The Queens product from Pope John XXIII High School (NJ) chose the Bearcats over St. John's.

Lavin and St. John's had recruited Lawrence heavily from the beginning, and were considered by some as the front-runners to land the 6-foot-9 forward.

Lawrence also seriously considered UNLV, along with other nationally-acclaimed programs such as Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, and Syracuse just months ago.

It had been reported that Lawrence, who is from Springfield Gardens in Queens, had scheduled an unofficial visit to St. John's about ten days ago, but delayed the visit. He was expected to make that visit to the school in the near future.

But on Sunday, just a day after the Red Storm's tough loss at Georgetown, the Johnnies got left out in the cold as Lawrence posted photos in which he was wearing a Cincinnati hat and celebrating his 18th birthday with a Bearcats-themed cake.

The news comes eight months after St. John's received a commitment from current Red Storm forward Chris Obekpa, who chose Lavin's program over Cincinnati.

Lawrence had missed the first part of this season with a hand injury, but returned to the floor for Pope John XXIII last week. Steve Lavin was there to watch Lawrence's return, showing that the Johnnies believed they were close on the forward very recently.

Lavin, whose St. John's team is still in the hunt for an NCAA Tournament bid this season at 13-7 (6-4 Big East), will have to get back to the recruiting drawing board. St. John's next biggest target for the 2013 class is Rysheed Jordan from Philadelphia.

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