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 fans lamenting Jermaine Lawrence’s decision to pick Cincinnati over the Johnnies and UNLV on Sunday need to keep a few things in mind.
First, the Johnnies don’t have many scholarships to offer for 2013.
As things currently stand, they will only have one scholarship to give if Orlando Sanchez does not return. As first reported last month by SNY.tv, Sanchez was declared ineligible by the NCAA and the case is considered resolved on their part.
If someone on St. John’s current roster — say, JaKarr Sampson or D’Angelo Harrison — were to see their NBA Draft stock rise during a potential March run, it is possible that that player could leave early, thereby opening up a second scholarship for 2013.
Second, the Johnnies do remain in the hunt for Philly Vaux Roberts guard Rysheed Jordan, who is considering St. John’s, Temple and UCLA and will sign in the spring.
“He’s like the wind,” Cougars coach Jamie Ross told the Philly Inquirer last month. “He blows in one direction one day, a different the next.”
With all that mind, the Johnnies are more focused on recruiting the classes of 2014 and ’05, when they will have more scholarships to offer.
One elite player they are involved with is Emmanuel Mudiay, the No. 2-ranked prospect in the Class of 2014 out of Dallas Prime Prep.
The 6-foot-5, 195-pound point guard recently cut his list to 10 schools: Arizona, Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, N.C. State, Oklahoma State, SMU, St. John’s and Texas.
“We have a good relationship with those schools,” Mudiay told SNY.v. “Just the schools that are interested in me and I’m interested in them.”
Among those coaches is Johnnies coach Steve Lavin.
“I like his style of play and he’s a cool coach,” Mudiay said. “He gets their players to play. He’s a good person.”
Added Stephane Mudiay, Emmanuel’s brother: “Coach Lavin is a great person as well. He’s built a relationship. He’s a good person.”
Emmanuel has a connection to St. John’s, having played with Johnnies point guard Jamal Branch for a year in high school in Texas.
“We are very close,” Mudiay said. “Me and him went to high school together when I was a freshman. We talk a lot.”
Mudiay currently has no visits planned and may cut his list sometime next summer.
“Yeah, probably so,” Stephane said. “Probably in July or maybe the fall, he will cut it down and take visits next fall.”
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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.