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Summer school: the coming Red Storm 2011 recruiting class

Last year, St. John's fans got to know what relevance felt like, for the first year in a long time. And it felt good.

Next year, fans get to know expectation. St. John's fans have been waiting for this new class with bated breath. Highly ranked, filled with talent, and brimming with confidence and swagger, the incoming class speaks to Steve Lavin's staff's ability to close the deal on great players, even given tough time constraints. And if you don't think filling the space of 10 seniors in less than a calendar year isn't tough, you don't know recruiting.

If you had asked me at this point last year, I would have said this couldn't be done.  Steve Lavin brought high-major talent to a school that hadn't tasted much success, and with his abilities more a question mark after 7 years in the broadcast booth. St. John's may not even have a rebuilding year... the storm of talent is coming.

Let's kick off this summer series on the Red Storm's recruiting class with a look at the players and their recruiting rankings, below the fold>>


Even before the commitment from forward God's Gift Achiuwa - who stands a strong chance to be the team's starting center next year - and whose name will draw even more attention than his game.

Even before God's Gift's commitment, though, the Red Storm's recruiting class earned top-5 accolades nationally (and Junior College players are usually not a large factor in those rankings):

  • Scout ranks the recruiting class at 3rd.
  • ESPN also ranks the Red Storm recruiting class at 3rd.
  • And Rivals has the class at 3rd as well.

Kentucky has a higher rated class in all rankings, and Duke gets a lot of love for their star-studded recruiting class. And St. John's is right there with two of the great recruiting powers.

I've listed the weight ranges given by the major recruiting sites (Rivals, Scout, ESPN), and the changes from the Rivals and Scout rankings of a few moths ago and their updated rankings which came out this week.

The St. John's recruiting class, hailing from north south east and west:

St. John's 2011 Recruiting class
Player Pos Ht Wt School Rivals RK Chg Scout Rk Chg ESPN Rk
Sir'Dominic Pointer SF 6'6" 195-210 Quality Education (NC) 
Jakarr Sampson SF/PF 6'8" 190-200 Brewster (NH)  
Maurice Harkless SF 6'6" 180-200 South Kent (CT) 
D'Angelo Harrison SG 6'3" 180-190 John Foster Dulles (TX) 
Norvel Pelle PF/C 6'9" 200-210 Price (CA)  
Amir Garrett SF 6'6" 175-190 Findlay (NV) 
Philip Greene G 6'2" 170-180 IMG (FL)
Nurideen Lindsey G 6'3" 175-185 Redlands CC (OK)
God's Gift Achiuwa F/C 6'9" 230-240 Erie CC (NY)

Obviously, there are discrepancies, as will happen when people rank players based on potential and AAU performances.

The new ballers: ESPN loves G/F Sir'Dominic Pointer for his defensive ability and toughness. That defensive ability was on display at the All-American Classic and the Jordan Brand game.

C Norvel Pelle gets love from Rivals for "bubbling with athleticism". And his height, length, and shot-blocking abilities don't hurt, either.

SG D'Angelo Harrison scores like a machine, but remained out of the top 50 of two of the rankings for not being considered a handler or a passer (though Harrison's Derby Classic game indicates he's working on that)... he also predicted a Final Four, next year.

SF Maurice Harkless gets props for being an elite athlete with room to grow... and weight to gain; he's known for having an excellent midrange jump shot.

SF/ PF Jakarr Sampson played at LeBron James' high school and speaks to the NBA star; he is long and has developing post moves, solid moves with the ball, and can rebound.

SF Amir Garrett is a former pitcher who is just now dedicating himself to year-round basketball; his name means Prince. And in the Ball Is Life All-Star game, Amir Garrett stole the show with electric dunks and an MVP award.

PG/ SG Phil Greene (see our "get to know" post) is a slender combo guard who can make a lot of plays with his length, but hasn't caught the eye of the recruitniks.

PG/ SG Nurideen Lindsey is a scoring guard who took some years off after tragedy, but is a solid lead guard who is expected to play a significant (likely starting) role next season.

And C God's Gift Achiuwa, we've already profiled.

A nice collection of ballers. But... is the recruiting class flawed? An answer to that, and other common statements about the incoming storm of players, coming on Thursday.

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