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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St. John’s Has Future Pros, But They Should Stay in School
St. John’s has as many as three or four future pros on its roster, but they should all stay in school at least another year, multiple NBA scouts told SNY.tv.
At this point, the Johnnies are in a dogfight to make this year’s NCAA Tournament and must keep winning, beginning with Sunday’s game against Georgetown, to maintain their hopes.
Still, whatever happens this year, if Rysheed Jordan, JaKarr Sampson, Chris Obekpa and D’Angelo Harrison all return next year — and the Johnnies only lose Orlando Sanchez and God’sgift Achiuwa — the Johnnies could be one of the best teams in the country in 2014-15.
“They should be one of the best teams in the country,” one veteran NBA scout told SNY.tv. “If they all come back, they should be really good.”
Here’s how two NBA scouts break down the St. John’s guys:
SCOUT No. 1: “He’s quick, he’s athletic, he’s quick off the bounce. Has a very bright future. It’s a little early on Rysheed. I’d like to see him stay another year and go from there.”
SCOUT No. 2: “He needs to stay in school for at least another year. Good size for a point guard. Can handle the ball, better in the open floor in an uptempo system. Not a consistent perimeter shooter. Decision-making needs to continue to improve.”
SCOUT NO. 1: “JaKarr is starting to play better this year. He has all the talent in the world. It would serve him to be a good defender. He has the tools to be a good defender and that comes from defense is internal, you have to want to do it. He’s getting better, he’s a very good prospect.”
SCOUT No. 2: “I know he is thinking of coming out which would be a mistake. Sampson is good in transition but not a shooter. No real position though he has to be a 3 at the next level. He is not even close to the player [Maurice] Harkless was at St. John’s.”
SCOUT No. 1: “Obekpa is starting to understand the game more. Fabulous physical tools. Obviously, a great shot-blocker. A talented rebounder. Needs to continue to add offensive pieces.”
SCOUT No. 2: “Obekpa is raw but can block a shot. He is limited offensively.”
SCOUT No. 1: “D’Angelo is a terrific college player. If he keeps improving, keeps working, yes he is an NBA player.”
SCOUT No. 2: “I think he is a D-League guy because he is a small 2 guard in the NBA that has no point guard skills. He can score but that is it. Not a defender, either.”
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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 and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, 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.