I've been watching the World Cup (if you follow this blog's Twitter page, I think it ain't hard to tell), along with prepping for a business trip. This is the part of the summer where news and information is just heating up, but still quiet. There are few recruit commitments, few changes of note for most teams, and very little in the way of the prognostication that will start popping up in August.
It's nice to have a break. But for St. John's, what could be a time where the focus is on recruiting for the 2011 class, there is a lot of news - a 2010 recruit, a new and anticipated coach, a bit of positive from one of college basketball's loud luminaries, and more. Read more below the fold.
- Coveted French forward Remi Barry has flown from Sacramento to New York for the last of his three official college visits - at St. John's. Having taking visits to UCLA and Arizona State, all schools are confident they can land the talented French forward. Barry's
hostAAU coach has said that St. John's was the leader in the past; Barry has said he has no leader and will decide in the week following this weekend's trip to New York.
There is some chatter that he might not be eligible, but may be able to redshirt. Still, a commitment from an agile forward will be a powerful moment. To be hyperbolic, it will remind the rest of the basketball that St. John's is no longer the backup choice to the future college b-ball stars. More talent is almost always better. And a fourth player who will be on the roster in 2011-2012 will make the program more appealing to recruits; the Red Storm will be closer to having a chance to make the NCAA Tournament that year.
- Mike Dunlap, the long awaited coach, is officially on the staff. He actually worked the Skills camp earlier this month, but his contract is all signed (for some big figures, no doubt), and his x and o's acumen will start to help the team.
Watch the interview with Dunlap on Red Storm Sports; he has a lot of insightful things to say about coaching and gives a look into next year's philosophy - trapping to look for turnovers/ disruptions, more aggression with the pick and roll, tweaking a lot of what the Red Storm did last year, having similarly physical play as last year's team... and he likes how the team shares the ball and works hard.
- St. John's skills camp featured a whole host of players from the 2011, 2012, and 2013 classes. Not necessarily different than the camps Norm Roberts hosted (with assistant coach Oz Cross' contacts and assistance), but the camp brought in some surprising players from outside the New York City area, including forward Norvelle Pelle (who added St. John's to his long school list afterwards) and Ohio's JaKarr Sampson, who says he "feels comfortable" with the staff after the skills and development camp.
The staff was impressed enough with what they saw at the camp to offer a scholarship to Tavon Sledge, the small but fast point guard from Half Hollow Hills High in Suffolk County. And with interest from big man Derrick Randall and Arizona guard Nick Johnson, there is some excitement for what is a huge and pivotal recruiting class in 2010.
- Dick Vitale names St. John's at 39 in ESPN's preseason top 40. I think his opinions overrate experience and underrate talent, so I'll take that with a grain or 5 of salt. But it's lovely to get the publicity.
- Omari Lawrence is looking at Kansas State and Southern California (USC).