St. John's recruiting for 2014 isn't as finished as we thought.
In the search for enough talent and shooting to take the Red Storm to the NCAA Tournament this coming season, Steve Lavin has taken a break from the summer evaluation schedule and traveled to Bosnia to see forward Amar Alibegovic, a Bosnia forward listed between 6'7" and 6'9".
Rumors earlier this week were confirmed by Adam Zagoria and Zach Braziller this morning. Alibogevic, the son of Oregon State player Teo Alibegovic, is currently playing with the Bosnia and Herzegovina Under-20 team, and will play with the Bosnian Senior National team next week.
Alibogevic also plays with the junior team of Italian side Stella Azzura, whose senior team St. John's played last summer during their European trip.
Just as he did two years ago, Steve Lavin is casting a wide net in search of talent late.
St. John's will add 6-9 Amar Alibegovic of Bosnia for 2014, sources tell @SNYtv. Father Teo played with Gary Payton at Oregon State.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) July 19, 2014
St John's is recruiting Serbian prospect Amar Alibegovic, a 6-9 forward but no commitment has been given per source. #sjubb— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) July 19, 2014
He is currently playing with the Bosnian 19U team in Sarajevo but will play with Bosnian Senior National Team next week— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) July 19, 2014
So while St. John's assistant coaches Tony Chiles and Rico Hines watch top 2015 targets Cheick Diallo and Isaiah Briscoe, currently playing in the playoffs of the Nike Peach Jam, Lavin is looking for a player who can immediately add some of what Orlando Sanchez (and to a lesser extent, JaKarr Sampson) did for the Red Storm - a big man who could shoot.
Ranked #41 in the Eurohopes rankings but currently with an empty profile on Draft Express, Alibegovic has averaged 17 minutes per game for the Bosnia and Herzogovina Under-20 squad in the current event. Fifty-five percent of his shots have been from beyond the three-point line, and he's shot 35% from beyond that arc. He's shot 75% on his shots inside the arc during the tournament.
Amar Alibegovic is averaging 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in the six contests.
Adam Zagoria adds in the post linked above that going professional is still an option for the Bosnian forward, who was born in Oregon.
St. John's hopes the player is eager to show what he can do against college players, showcasing himself for the professional ranks while getting an American education. The Red Storm lose shooter Max Hooper from last year's squad and Marc-Antoine Bourgault - neither earned consistent playing time, but were distance-shooting weapons for a Red Storm squad known for offensive droughts.
Certainly, this is a better-seeming prospect than the likes of Dominic Artis.
But will he commit? And if Alibegovic chooses to come to New York as a late recruit, will he have eligibility issues as some foreign players, with classes that may or may not be equivalent to NCAA's required core courses?