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.
St. John’s needed a big year from junior college guard Nurideen Lindsey even before the latest developments surfaced.
But now that three members of Steve Lavin’s heralded recruiting class have been declared academically ineligible, Lindsey’s role becomes even more important.
“I just work, man,” the 6-foot-3, 179-pound Lindsey, nicknamed “Too Easy,” told RedStormSports.com. “Offensively, I just work. I just find a way to get it done. I’m a tough guy. I’m mentally tough. I’m a very real self- determined person, so I just find a way to get it done.”
Playing as a junior at Philadelphia’s Overbrook High School in 2007-08, Lindsey averaged 35.8 points per game in Philadelphia Public league play, the sixth highest scoring clip in city high school history.
Wilt Chamberlain – who also attended Overbrook – holds two of the five top spots. Lindsey finished his three-year prep career with 1,315 career points and led the Philadelphia Public League in scoring in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
He then averaged 22.3 ppg, 5.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.5 steals at Redlands Community College in El Reno, Okla., as a first-year player in 2010-11.
Lindsey will need to be especially productive at St. John’s because JaKarr Sampson, Amir Garrett and Norvel Pelle — one-third of Lavin’s nine-man recruiting class — were all ruled ineligible.
The 6-8 Sampson has since re-opened his recruitment and is getting a slew of college coaching visitors at Brewster (N.H.) Academy, including Lavin.
Lavin also stopped by Bridgton (Maine) Academy Monday in order to check out Garrett, who may be eligible in December, and 2012 commit Darrick Wood, formerly of NIA Prep.
“If it goes the way Amir currently wants it to, I think he’ll get there for the second semester,” Bridgton coach Whit Lesure said of the 6-7 Garrett.
Still, with first-semester games against Kentucky and Arizona, Lavin and his staff have only eight scholarship players, including one walk-one.
That makes Lindsey’s role all the more critical.
“Nuri is a unique talent,” said Lavin. “He possesses an excellent basketball intellect, tremendous point guard skills and an ability to put up big numbers offensively. With regard to intangibles, he is a fierce competitor who brings both experience and maturity to our team.”
**St. John’s Pelle says he didn’t decommit
**St. John’s freshmen trio declared ineligible
**St. John’s players in limbo
**Sampson to Brewster
**Sampson decommits, Garrett to Bridgton
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.