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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / May 21.
  • Lavin Grounded, But St. John’s Recruiting Flying High

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    The July recruiting period can get pretty hectic for college coaches, what with the whirlwind blur of cross-country flights, rental cars and never-ending gyms.

    But when it comes to having an eventful end of July, few may be able to match St. John’s Steve Lavin.

    On Saturday, the same day the Johnnies landed a verbal pledge from Ricardo Gathers, the No. 12 power forward in the Class of 2012, Lavin also lost his wallet at the John Wayne Airport in Orange County (Calif.).

    College coaches are not permitted to comment on verbal commitments, but it’s safe to say that the loss of his wallet was mitigated by the addition of such a talented rebounder and scorer from the Class of 2012.

    As for the wallet story, it goes like this. Lavin and assistant Rico Hines were watching 2012 shooting guard Katin Reinhardt and 2013 small forward Ishmail Wainwright at the Pumps event in Orange County, Calif.

    Once they got to the airport with plans to fly East for the end of the July  period, Lavin misplaced his wallet.

    “I lost my wallet in the Orange County Airport,” Lavin said by text. “I retraced my steps to the airport searching for my wallet to no avail. Then I got our rental car brought back to be searched but no such luck.

    “Then I went to the Orange County airport lost and found to fill out a missing items report for the Sheriffs on site at the airport.”

    After canceling his credit card, Lavin went through an extensive process of getting clearance to fly — to San Francisco. Because his parents, Cap and Mary, live in the city by the Bay, he was permitted to fly there to obtain a copy of his birth certificate and social security card so he could travel again.

    Also,¬† there are no evening Redeyes out of the Orange County airport so heading East wasn’t an option.

    “Given all the variables and circumstances at that juncture, the best strategy was to get to San Francisco to recalibrate and begin putting the pieces back together again,” Lavin said.

    It took him three hours just to get through the security checks without any identification, but fans in the Orange County recognized him and showed their support for the former UCLA coach.

    Despite getting grounded, Hines and St. John’s assistant Tony Chiles hit the last day of the recruiting period as the Johnnies look to add more 2012 recruits. They were among the last coaches present to watch Kyle Anderson and the Playaz win the End of Summer Classic with a 68-67 triple-overtime victory over New Heights at Albright College in Reading, Pa. Anderson was named MVP.

    Hoping to build on the momentum of the Gathers commitment, St. John’s in the mix for Anderson, Reinhardt, Philly Friends power forward Amile Jefferson and Newark NIA Prep shooting guard Darrick Wood.

    So even if Lavin was grounded for a couple of days, St. John’s recruiting is still flying high.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.