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St. John’s receives commitment from JUCO wing LJ Figueroa

The Red Storm lands a talent for the 2018 season.

LJ Figueroa in AAU play
LJ Figueroa in AAU play
Kelly Kline/ Under Armour

As the live period starts, and as St. John’s tries to sway some 2019 talents (Jalen Gaffney, Kofi Cockburn, Kahlil Whitney and Precious Achiuwa, most notably), the Red Storm have landed LJ Figueroa, a JUCO All-American scorer originally from Massachusetts.

The 6’5”, 195 pound former top-100 wing LJ Figueroa is a wing with shooting stroke and talent. Originally from Lawrence, MA, Figueroa has had a circuitous route in his basketball journey, but has the talent to play. He will be immediately eligible make an impact and possibly even start next season.

Today’s commit follows the transfer announcement of Eli Wright last night in what has been a busy week.

Not seeing time at home in Lawrence after his sophomore season, Figueroa was brought down to Florida by a friend and coach, Alex Arias. Down in the Sunshine State, he blew up at Oldsmar Christian School, then went to play at West Oaks High.

He played on the Under Armour circuit for Team Breakdown. Figueroa showed himself a scorer, averaging over 20 points per game, becoming a coveted top-100 (67th in ESPN & 247 Sports at one point; 74th in the aggregated RSCI summer rankings for summer 2017) recruit with pursuit from Louisville, Miami and Florida.

LJ Figueroa in AAU play
LJ Figueroa in AAU play
Kelly Kline/ Under Armour

Figueroa also led the Dominincan Republic in the FIBA U18 Championships in 2016, despite shooting poorly.

Despite offers from Louisville and Florida, he chose to commit to New Mexico State for spring 2016 and sat out half a season. When the coach moved on to UNLV, Figueroa opened his recruitment rather than possibly sitting out another season as a transfer and went to Odessa College, a Junior College in Texas.

At Odessa, Figueroa became the only freshman on the NJCAA Division I Men’s All-American Team after averaging 21 points per game (12 in the nation for JUCO Division I), with five rebounds per contest, on 48% shooting from outside the arc and 59% shooting inside.

He scored 38 points in one game, and 31 points three times. He averaged 4 assists per game, and had two games with eight assists apiece.

His game has been versatile in the past.

He can shoot, yes, but he can also pass and move the ball. His shot has been effective on all levels, though better as a catch-and-shoot player, and he has enough quickness to get into the lane.

While the Red Storm could use another big man on the roster — right now, Sedee Keita is the team’s size, with contributions from Josh Roberts (6’9”, 210) and Boubacar Diakite (6’8”, 180) and Marvin Clark II in a pinch (6’7”, 230) — Figueroa can fill the scoring hole left from the graduation of Bashir Ahmed.

The Johnnies may not be done with the 2018 class, despite having 0 scholarships currently.

Figueroa should have three years of eligibility remaining.

Roster update

Senior/ 2019 Grad: Marvin Clark II

Junior/ 2020 Grad: Shamorie Ponds, Justin Simon

Sophomore/ 2021 Grad: Sedee Keita, Mikey Dixon, Bryan Trimble, Jr., LJ Figueroa

Freshman/ 2022 Grad: Boubacar Diakite, Greg Williams, Jr., Josh Roberts, Marcellus Earlington

Sitting out: David Caraher (sophomore in 2019-20, 2022 grad), Eli Wright (junior in 2019-20, 2021 grad)

Open scholarships: 0

High School highlights: LJ Figueroa

Full game video, Junior College

START AT 11:00. Look for #30 in white. He scores first.