Johnnies Land Top 10 Recruiting Class (UPDATED) | Zagsblog
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Sunday / April 14.
  • Johnnies Land Top 10 Recruiting Class (UPDATED)

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    When Steve Lavin took over as the newest St. John’s head coach, he inherited a roster with nine seniors and 10 scholarships to fill.

    Now, on the first day of the early signing period, the fruits of Lavin’s Herculean recruiting efforts are beginning to take shape.

    The Johnnies on Wednesday announced the signings of four of their five early commits — Queens native Maurice Harkless, Ohio forward JaKarr Sampson, Philly guard Nurideen Lindsey and Texas guard D’Angelo Harrison.

    Sir’Dominic Pointer — formerly known as Dominique Pointer —  is expected to be formally announced Thursday.

    Overall, the class is ranked No. 7 nationally by ESPN.

    “This class, which will become one of the largest signed in collegiate basketball, comprises the foundation of the St. John’s program moving forward,” said Lavin. “The arrival of the 2010-11 class, along with an elite returning talent in Dwayne Polee II , is the core group that will carry the Johnnies into the future.”

    The 6-8, 190-pound Harkless, the No. 13 small forward according to Rivals.com, is considered the jewel of the class.

    He averaged 16.5 points per game and 11.5 rebounds at Forest Hills High School in Queens as a junior in 2009-10. An athletic, rangy shooter with great length on the defensive end of the floor, Harkless was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Hoop Group Elite Camp in Reading, Pa., this past summer, and led his New York Panthers AAU squad to a top four finish at the Fab 48 event in Las Vegas, and the Desert Duel title in Phoenix, Ariz. Harkless is spending his senior season at South Kent School (Conn.), playing for Kelvin Jefferson.

    “Maurice Harkless is the jewel of the class,” said New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski. “He has tremendous potential, a really high ceiling. He’s just got to get tough and play hard every possession.

    “In terms of athleticism and skill level, he’s one of the best forwards in the country.”

    Said Lavin: “Maurice is the best player in New York City. He is an excellent athlete, highly-skilled and versatile enough to contribute at multiple positions. Our staff is pleased with the signing of Maurice because it is especially vital for St. John’s to secure the top talent in the New York-New Jersey metro area.

    “In terms of attracting top New York City talent, Maurice is going to be our `pied piper.’ His choice in coming to St. John’s will lead other elite local talent back to New York City’s college basketball program.”

    The 6-7 Sampson attended LeBron James’ alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, before transferring to Brewster (N.H.) Academy for his senior season.

    “JaKarr Samposn is a guy without a great deal of skill but plays really hard every possession,” Konchalski said. “He’s a warrior.”

    The No. 12 small forward in the Class of 2011, Sampson averaged 14 points  and eight rebounds at St. Vincent-St. Mary

    “Jakarr is a long, athletic, skilled basketball player,” Lavin said. “He has the ability to influence the game at both ends of the floor. “His ability to create off the bounce, slash to the basket and play above the rim gives him distinction among his peers. Jakarr has a strong work ethic and is an eager student of the game.”

    Harrison is a 6-3 guard from Sugar Land (Texas) Dulles High ranked the No. 9 shooting guard in the nation. Known both for his accuracy and ability to get to the rim, he averaged 20.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals as a junior.

    “D’Angelo is a dynamic combination guard,” Lavin siad. “He is a prolific scorer and clearly one of the best shooters in the nation. “He plays with intelligence and intensity. He puts tremendous pressure on opposing defenses because he is constantly in the attack mode. Texas has become a hotbed of basketball talent, and it is our hope that D’Angelo is the first of many players from the Lone Star State to make the trek to the Big Apple for their collegiate careers.”

    Pointer and Lindsey, who dropped 48 points in his season-opener for Redlands (Okla.) Community College,  make five early commits for the Johnnies.

    “Dominic Pointer is a very athletic kid,” Konchalski said. “A very good defender and very athletic. Nurideen Lindsey is a scorer. He can really score. He’s more of a two.”

    St. John’s also secured a verbal commitment from 2012 point guard Jevon Thomas of 2012.

    The Johnnies may still land an early commitment from 6-10 Los Angeles Price center Norvel Pelle, the No. 2 center in the 2011 class.

    Pelle visited St. John’s last weekend and heads to Washington this coming weekend.

    They are also involved with 6-7 Henderson (Nev. ) Findlay Prep wing Amir Garrett, who has said he will wait until the spring to sign.

    St. John’s opens the season with a 2 a.m. tip on Tuesday against St. Mary’s in ESPN’s third annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.

    SIGNING DAY UPDATES

    Elsewhere around New York and the Big East, Aaron Cosby, a 6-2 combo guard from Northfield (Mass.) Mount Hermon, signed with Seton Hall…Greg Lewis, Mike Taylor and Myles Mack are signed and in the books for RU’s Mike RiceJermaine Sanders, a 6-6 wing from Manhattan Rice, and 6-7 wing Shaquille Thomas of Newark NIA Prep, signed with Cincinnati…Mount Vernon point guard Jabarie Hinds has signed with West Virginia…Wagner coach Dan Hurley landed NLIs from guard Marcus Burton of North Carolina and Jersey wing Mario Moody.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.

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