Following the verbal commits this past spring from Christ the King center Adonis Delarosa and Westchester Community College forward Keith Thomas, St. John’s officially signed and announced the pair of New York big men as members of the Red Storm on Monday.
"We are pleased to sign two prospects from New York as we bolster the frontline depth of our roster," said head coach Steve Lavin in a press release Monday. Delarosa and Thomas should both play vital roles on a Red Storm team badly needs depth in the frontcourt for next season.
The 6’11", 270-pound Delarosa had previously verbally committed to St. John’s in a press conference at his high school in Queens back in April, choosing the Red Storm over Fordham and Pittsburgh, among others. Throughout his high school career he was seemingly content to stay out of the spotlight and do the dirty work for his team, averaging 12 points and 12 rebounds per game, using his exceptional size to dominate the paint.
Delarosa’s performance last season helped lead Christ the King to their second straight city and state Federation championships. By the season’s end he would be named the 2013-14 Queens Player of the Year by the New York Daily News.
"Adonis has exceptionally good hands and a strong offensive skill set for a basketball player of his size and age," added Lavin, excited to be working with a player of Delarosa’s potential over the next few years.
The other member of the 2014 recruiting class, the 6’8", 230-pound Keith Thomas, was named NJCAA Region XV Player of the Year last season after leading all Division I junior college players with 15.7 rebounds per game. Thomas added in 15.3 points per game to help lead Westchester Community College to a District Championship and a 28-5 record. While those numbers likely came against weaker opponents than he’ll see in the Big East next season, they are still promising for St. John’s coaches, players and fans alike.
For Thomas, the journey to St. John’s has certainly not been any easy one. Academic problems, legal issues, personal loss and difficult injuries have all plagued him in only the last few years of his life.
"I never thought I would be in this position. I’m here now and I’m thankful," he told the New York Post, "my dream is coming true."
After losing both God`sGift Achiuwa and Orlando Sanchez to graduation and seeing JaKarr Sampson leave school early for a chance at the NBA, the additions of Delarosa and Thomas could not have come at a better time for St. John’s. They should both add some much-needed depth to a frontcourt likely to be headlined by rising junior Chris Obepka next season.
The potential is now there for the Red Storm to have a serviceable frontcourt to match their already stellar backcourt next season, but will that potential turn into actual results on the court come November and beyond?