Following his official visit to Cincinnati, Jermaine Lawrence is down to three schools and will take his final official visit to St. John’s sometime in the coming weeks.
BearcatLair.com reported that the 6-foot-10 Lawrence out of Pope John XXIII (Sparta, N.J.) is down to Cincinnati, St. John’s and UNLV, to which he has already taken an official.
Fans chanted his name Saturday as Lawrence sat courtside when No. 11 Cincinnati defeated Wright State 68-58 at Fifth Third Arena. Cincinnati remained unbeaten after the win, but suffered its first loss Thursday night to New Mexico, 55-54.
“Got so much love from the fans out here in Cincy,” Lawrence Tweeted.
Lawrence is a New York native and the Bearcats have had a number of New Yorkers in recent years, from Lance Stephenson to Sean Kilpatrick and Jermaine Sanders.
However, St. John’s coach Steve Lavin will get the last crack at Lawrence, who is currently out of action until early January after undergoing surgery on a tendon in his shooting hand.
Lavin has already produced a one-and-done player at St. John’s in small forward Moe Harkless, now with the Orlando Magic, and could have another on his hands with small forward JaKarr Sampson, who has already been named Big East Rookie of the Week three times before conference play starts.
Whether Lawrence has similar talent remains to be seen.
“He could be very good but more than anything else, he needs experience, he needs playing time,” New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski said. “He needs a lot of repetitions on the court in situations. He’s gotta learn to play hard all the time. When he does, he can be really a factor on the boards, especially on the offensive boards. And he changes ends as well as any big man you’ll find. He’s gotta build up his strength, his stamina and learn to play every possession.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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.