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St. John's recruiting: Mike Perez to UTEP (UPDATED)

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Earlier this summer, we posted on the strange and quick commitment of Mike Perez to St. John's. There was some confusion over whether Perez had actually gotten an offer, what it was contingent on, etc. But now, the graduating shooting guard Perez is going to the University of Texas at El-Paso (UTEP) this fall, and on scholarship. More from the AZ Central, and the Arizona Daily Star below>>>

Chad Groth, a local tournament director who had enlightened Perez about the St. John's offer at the time, said Lavin couldn't wait this late in the summer to see if Perez would qualify academically and had to move on without Perez.

But just this week, Perez made it through the NCAA Clearinghouse. He said he starts classes at UTEP on Monday.

In the article, Perez also says he decommitted. Possibly a little bit of face-saving, or a real decommitment. Either way, it doesn't affect St. John's very much. The coaching staff is still keeping their eyes open for talent that might be available this year. Still, the squad coming back will likely be the squad this year.

From the Daily Star:

Perez accepted a conditional offer from St. John's in July, but after he was finally cleared to play on Aug. 18, it was UTEP's Floyd who popped up suddenly....

Perez had said earlier this summer he was considering playing at a junior college or prep school before new St. John's coach Steve Lavin offered him a scholarship.

Perez took a summer school course at Pueblo to improve his eligibility prospects but, after he was cleared, Frank Perez said Lavin did not follow up.

"There wasn't enough conversation to make Mike feel like he was really wanted (at St. John's)," Frank Perez said. "But UTEP was the place he really wanted to go to in the first place. I wanted him to be in a place like Tucson."

Good luck to Perez, and here's hoping he becomes the baller surprise St. John's hoped he would be. Tim Floyd's a pretty good coach, despite his USC tenure (and associated recruiting strangeness).