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Brandon Sampson cuts list to three; Ponds, LoVett put their skills on display in holiday tournaments

Sampson interested in all the available playing time next season; St. John's extends offer to Ponds; and LoVett continues to impress. Updates on Traci Carter, Deshawn Freeman, and Omari Spellman.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

After a hot start to the season, St. John's has hit a roadblock, going 0-3 in Big East play to start the conference season.

Coming into the season, fans and experts knew depth would be an issue. Steve Lavin cannot fix this problem immediately, but he can learn and build depth for next year - and fill out the roster with intriguing impact players.  Coach Lavin has been active on the recruiting front in an effort to keep St. John's talented enough to compete in the Big East.

2015 Class

Marcus LoVett (G, Burbank, CA/ Morgan Park HS (IL))

The guard, who plays for Morgan Park in Chicago, continues to impress college coaches. LoVett continues to post big scoring numbers and recently took home MVP honors at Carbondale Holiday Tournament. He has offers from DePaul, Kansas, Illinois, St. John's, and San Diego State.

Brandon Sampson (G, Baton Rouge, LA/ Madison Prep HS (LA))

After Isaiah Briscoe chose Kentucky over St. John's, it appeared that the Red Storm would miss out on Sampson too. However, St. John's - along with California and USC - are at the top of Sampson's list. Sampson, who is a top 50 prospect, would be a huge get for St. John's.

St. John's only has one commit for 2015 (guard Samir Doughty) and a player of Sampson's caliber would help build up the class. The fact that Sampson might be able to start as a freshman makes St. John's a very attractive place for the Louisiana native.

Traci Carter (G, Philadelphia, PA/ Life Center Academy (NJ))

In a recent interview with, Carter stated that Louisville, Seton Hall, and Indiana were on his list, along with DePaul, Creighton, Temple, Manhattan and Memphis. According to 247 sports, he still has offers from SMU, Hofstra, Dayton, and Tennessee. St. John's, who also offered, may still be in play for Carter, but he did not mention them in the recent update.

DeShawn Freeman (F, Rocky Mount, NC/ Hutchinson Community College (KS))

Freeman continues to dominate at Hutchinson CC. In 14 games, he is averaging 21 points to go along with 9 rebounds per game. The forward from North Carolina recently visited Rutgers, but he won't be visiting other campuses until the spring.  Seton Hall, Marquette, and St. John's have alll shown interest in Freeman.

2016 Class

Omari Spellman (F/C, North Royalton, OH/ The MacDuffie School (MA))

The junior who is from Ohio but plays prep ball in the Northeast recently cut his list to 15 and St. John's is on it. It is obviously still early in his recruiting process, but this is good news for St. John's.

Shamorie Ponds (G, Brooklyn, NY/ Thomas Jefferson HS (NY))

The junior is a Brooklyn native who plays at Thomas Jefferson High School. The guard is known for his scorer's mentality and has put that on display this year.

He is averaging 26 points per game, while leading his team to a 7-0 record in league play. On a recent trip to San Diego for the Under Armour Holiday Classic, Ponds proved that he can play with the best players in the country. Thomas Jefferson went 3-1 in the tournament and Ponds received an All Tournament Award. Getting a commitment from Ponds will not be easy.

His recent stellar play on the court has caused college coaches to take notice. He has received offers from  Minnesota, St. John's, Miami, Seton Hall, Oklahoma, Iona and Fordham. After his outstanding play in San Diego, it appears that his college list will continue expand. The Rumble will have more information on Ponds later in the week.