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St. John's basketball recruiting: Malik Stith (2009) Signs

I noticed on Friday that Rivals had St. John's with a new recruiting verbal for the class of 2009 - a point guard from North Carolina named Malik Stith. He's from the New York area - from Hempstead (did he play football, also? This may be him). And he is happy to come home, saying "It’s a good fit for me. The chance to play at Madison Square Garden and doing it in front of my friends and family for four years just felt right to me."

Malik StithStith plays with the United Celtics on the AAU circuit, and played for East Mecklenburg HS in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he won a state championship this year.

And because you needed to know this, East Mecklenburg is also the high school of Apprentice contestant Kwame Jackson. Stith is going to prep at Bridgeton Academy (where St. John's recruits Qu'rraan Calhoun, Justin Burrell, Paris Horne did their post-grad year) and will be a 2009 recruit.

At East Mecklenburg he won a city championship, and was named the Charlotte Observer's Boys Basketball Player of the Year, after not appearing on their pre-season list. Stith had a 3-star ranking on, previous to his decision to prep.

Here is a post from NBE Basketball, focusing on Stith's good ball handling abilities.

A side note: I saw that a few folks on the message boards were worried about being overloaded at the point guard position. That's a complete, absolute load of crap.

The signing of Malik Stith is not an indication that the staff thinks Malik Boothe is not up to the job. Or that Tyshwan Edmondson was a desperation recruit that can't hang on this level. Or that Paris Horne can't handle backup ballhandling duties.

I don't know what people think 13 scholarships are for, but depth is important. And a team that is weak at the point guard position is ripe for beatings when they can't bring the ball up, when one ball handler is being owned by another defender, or when a ball handler gets injured. On a good team, there have to be a number of guys that can step up and bring the ball up under pressure, and guys who are looking to make the smart pass.

Boothe was limited in a few games by a bad back, and at his size, his reckless style will get him hurt - dinged and bruised at least. As it is, the team needs the returning players (Kennedy and Horne) to be better ball handlers. Coach Roberts obviously prizes multi-positionality and versatility; and I am sure he watched those 10 turnover first halves in what seemed like every conference game.

And Tyshwan Edmondson, 6'4" and without big assist numbers to his credit in high school, is he a full-time point guard on the Big East level? He might be a combination guard. He might be a slasher. We don't know. And perhaps Tyshwan waits on the bench for his turn, like players do at every school.

Players are still signing with schools, so there may be another 2008 recruit; but unless that recruit is a JUCO big man rebounder, the staff should shelve those scholarships for Omari Lawrence, Kevin Parrom, David Bruce, Dan Jennings, Tevin Baskin, James Padgett, or more under the radar recruits such as Kyrie Sutton or a surprise foreign player. Unless the Red Storm has a serious in with a high-grade recruit, they are not coming until the team starts winning; and even then, the winning will happen after the early signing period when the top recruits choose their schools.

And the team will want to save some scholarships for the 2010 class (with the 2005-06 recruit class transferred or reclassified, no players will be leaving in 2010) for players like Taran Buie, Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb, and Ashton Pankey.