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.
Amir Garrett, JaKarr Sampson and Norvel Pelle have not yet enrolled at St. John’s and thus have options, including prep school and including the potential of landing at other schools.
Still, St. John’s and the three players remain hopeful that they will be able to begin playing in December.
“I’ll be there January believe that!!,” Tweeted the 6-foot-7 Garrett, a small forward who was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds and signed a $1 million bonus that does not prevent him from playing college basketball.
Garrett is currently in the Las Vegas area after spending last season at Findlay Prep, while the 6-10 Pelle and the 6-8 Sampson are in the New York area, sources told SNY.tv.
“This is another bump in the road not on the head,” Darrow Garrett, Amir’s father, told the New York Post. “I feel bad for my son, I feel bad for Coach Lavin, who is trying to turn around the St. John’s program and return it to its glory days. Amir wants to do his part to make that happen. We’re going to be there for the Big East games. Mark my words.”
Sampson has yet to make any decisions regarding prep school.
“Since this came as a shock to JaKarr he plans to sit down with his family and seek out the best situation that will allow him to compete in the classroom as well as the hardwood floor,” Don Anderson, Sampson’s AAU coach, told SNY. tv. “This is unfortunate but JaKarr is a tough-minded kid that wants to achieve his dream and that is to play Division 1 basketball.”
Pelle’s father, Norvel Sr., told the Post: “We’re very disappointed.”
St. John’s will have just eight scholarship players for the first semester, including 6-4 junior guard Jamal White, a transfer from LIU who was to be a walk-on but has been given a scholarship.
“Jamal is a guy who knows the system having been around for a year on the practice squad, and has an exceptional attitude,” head coach Steve Lavin said. “His tenacity and work ethic help create a competitive environment that helps our team improve with every practice.”
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.