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.
If cleared, Marcus LoVett would be game-changer for St. John’s
Kansas freshman Cheick Diallo and St. John’s freshman Kassoum Yakwe have already been cleared by the NCAA to play this year.
Now there are rumblings that St. John’s freshman guard Marcus LoVett could be next. The 6-foot floor general from Chicago was initially named a partial qualifier on Nov. 11.
“Marcus LoVett is a game-changing guard,” Fox Sports 1 Big East analyst Tarik Turner said Wednesday on The 4 Quarters Podcast. “Anyone who has seen him play will tell you that he’s a guy that’s an immediate-impact play-making guard that can get his own shot, that can get his teammates easier shots, something they don’t have now.
“[Federico] Mussini’s done a good job, but he has got a lot of pressure on him because everyone’s gearing to slow him down and he’s not as much of a playmaker as LoVett is.
After being named a partial qualifier, LoVett is permitted to practice with the team as he works toward meeting NCAA continuing eligibility requirements.
LoVett finished fourth in the Illinois statewide vote for Mr. Basketball in 2015 after averaging roughly 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists per game. He led his team to a third place finish at the state tournament in 2015 and set an Illinois Class 3A playoff record posting 45 points on 20-of-27 shooting in the semifinals.
If he’s allowed to suit up, it would give Chris Mullin’s team a true playmaking guard going forward.
“If LoVett were to get eligible this year, he would immediately be one of the best guards in the league,” said Turner, who played at St. John’s. “And there’s some good guards, obviously Kris Dunn, Jalen Brunson and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, but he would be in that tier one group because he’s so talented.
“He’s tough, he’s great off the bounce, he can get into the lane, he can shoot it and he’s a leader. I can’t give you a win total but I can say they will be significantly better with him in the lineup that without him. And hopefully there’s some good news coming down the pipeline soon.”
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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.