Jordan, Greene, Balamou to Miss St. John’s Europe Trip; Lavin Calls Rodriguez for Visit
St. John’s will be without guards Rysheed Jordan, Phil Greene and Felix Balamou on their upcoming European tour, head coach Steve Lavin announced Thursday.
The 6-foot-4 Jordan, the lone member of St. John’s incoming recruiting class, is dealing with back spasms. Greene is coming off hip surgery and Balamou is coming back from an ankle injury last March.
“It’s definitely less than ideal to not have Rysheed Jordan, Phil Greene and Felix Balamou’s services,” Lavin told reporters Thursday as the team prepares for Monday’s departure.
“On the flip-side, unlike previous seasons, we now have the depth to absorb some injuries or foul trouble in a game. In the past, the combination of a thin bench and our inexperience made it difficult to overcome injuries. Now we’re at a point where we finally have a more seasoned roster and deeper bench. Naturally, it’s less than ideal to have injuries yet we feel optimistic about the quality and depth of our personnel.”
Jordan averaged 24.8 points last season at Philly Vaux Roberts High School and is the top incoming recruit in the new Big East.
“It’s been a good preseason for me but I’m a little banged up right now,” Jordan said. “Obviously I want to be able to play, but as Coach and the staff told me it’s my job to get healthy right now and ready for our season. I look forward to experiencing Europe with my teammates, learning next to Phil on the bench and getting back on the court as soon as I can.”
Greene is also out for the trip.
“I’m feeling great right now, rehabbing three times a week and doing extras in the morning with the guys when we lift,” he said. “I’m healthy now so everything’s going to fall into place once we get back from Europe.”
LAVIN CALLS RODRIGUEZ
Prior to the trip, Lavin called 2014 Puerto Rican wing Wilfredo Rodriguez to express interest, his AAU coach, Carlos Morales, told SNY.tv.
“They want him to visit in September and for Midnight Madness in October,” Morales said.
As for Rodriguez’s upside, Morales added: “Wilfredo is a 6-6 small forward with a 6-10 wingspan who can flat out score. At times you don’t even notice him on the floor and when you look at the stat sheet you see he finished with 20+ points. He has a great feel for the game.”
Rodriguez also holds offers from Delaware and Stony Brook. He will prep this year at Cheshire (Conn.) Academy.
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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.