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St. John's basketball updates: Lamb, Taylor, Chiles, Braica, Paul

Recruiting Notes on Boys and Girls' High Schools' Mike Taylor + Doron Lamb, a profile of Tony Chiles, and other related St. John's notes.

(Photos from the NY Post and

Mike Taylor

St. John's logoMike TaylorMike Taylor (Johnny Jungle profile) is known as a great shooter, possibly the best in New York City (which isn't always saying much). A shooting guard, he has been in the sights of the Red Storm for some time now.

[Mike Taylor] plans to take several unofficial visits this summer, narrow down his choices by August and pick a school in October, just before defending his city title with the Kangaroos.

Taylor was one player former St. John's coach Norm Roberts zeroed in on. The two had formed a close relationship and Taylor was sad to see Roberts go. New head man Steve Lavin will have his work cut out for him if he is going to land the 6-foot-3 Taylor, who said he is leaning toward attending a school out of the area. Lavin and Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard are expected to be in attendance on Friday for The High's open gym.

"It’s not that I don't want to stay local, I want to get out and see the world," he said. "It's not out the window [I could go to St. John’s]. I have to get to know [Lavin]."

Doron Lamb

St. John's logoDoron LambDoron Lamb is known as a true scorer (Johnny Jungle profile) and is coveted by the nation's top programs as a playmaking shooting guard. Steve Lavin and his official one-man staff Tony Chiles are working on star guard Doron Lamb. He may not come - it is very late to get in on a top prospect - but with Ron Roberts not coming to St. John's, is a target. Chiles says a lot of the right things.

"We want to get coach Lavin's vision out there," Chiles told The Post. "He wants to get St. John’s back to being New York’s team."

"When St. John's is good, there's no better place to be in college basketball than the Garden," added Chiles, who is prohibited by NCAA rules from commenting on any recruit. "You walk through the stands and everyone, the high school coaches, the AAU coaches, the fans, businessmen, everyone pokes their chest out."....

"I don't think there’s such a thing as a super duper recruiter," said Chiles. "I think it's about relationships and having people trust you to do right by their sons or their players."

Smith said Lavin and Chiles will visit Oak Hill on Friday to give their pitch to Lamb, a New York native.


Lavin has spoken with Lamb's father, as per Adam Zagoria.

St. John's logoAn article on new assistant Tony Chiles ($ subscription required), who lost his mother to robbery-murder in his home while he was a senior at Columbia University. He sounds like a man who will be able to sell the student-athlete concept to kids; he'll make a splash with the parents, for sure.

Basketball wasn't going to be his way out; education was. "My father would say, 'Listen, you don't work, you don't play,' ''....

Chiles did well enough to make it to the Ivy League, where he earned a degree in political science. The tragedy of losing his mother has stayed with him, though he has made it a driving force in his life....

Chiles, who is married and has two children, worked on Wall Street and taught at All Hallows before returning to college basketball, where he had assistant jobs at Manhattan, Iona and, for the last six years, Drexel. A big part of his job with St. John's will be to hit the streets and bring in recruits.

St. John's logoMeanwhile, former St. John's assistant coach under Norm Roberts, Glenn Braica, is a leading candidate for the head coaching job at St. Francis College in Brooklyn (the little school I could never find when I lived a mile away). He had worked for the Terriers for 15 years. And he is credited with convincing Norm Roberts to sign some decent talents (such as Paris Horne) and some less-impactful (Phil Wait, who needed a little more time, but might still be a player).

St. John's logoMissouri guard Miguel Paul (who may or may not be related to Chris Paul) is transferring, and St. John's is on the list of schools he would like to look at. Paul wasn't a bad guard - not willing to shoot, and seemingly more of a jump shooter, and without strong assist numbers, but decently efficient. He could be a good combo guard along with Malik Stith and whoever comes in the class of 2011.

Other Related Notes

+ Ocean Academy is one of many college basketball "academies" where school isn't secondary, it's non-existent; players go simply to play ball and hopefully improve their SAT scores in an unregulated non-academic environment while living in group houses. Ocean Academy, where recent Seton Hall recruit Anali Okolaji played before getting his scholarship, is one of many alternatives to postgraduate programs at northeastern prep schools such as South Kent. From the Star-Ledger article:

The NCAA and the National High School Federation hold no power over them. But before incoming players can play at the college level, they must pass through the NCAA eligibility center, where their backgrounds and academic records are examined.

"As long as they’re not being paid or putting their amateur status in jeopardy before they enroll in college," said Cameron Schuh, the NCAA’s assistant director of public and media relations, "it would be the same as if someone took a job for a year and traveled abroad before they went to school."

+ And a column from the Columbia (University) Spectator with big dreams of an upgraded basketball program.