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.
After appearing with his wife, Mary Ann Jarou, at St. John’s 73-58 loss to Louisville Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, head coach Steve Lavin is heading back out on the road recruiting.
As reported exclusively last month by SNY.tv, Lavin is looking to sign five players in the Class of 2012 during the springtime.
“I’ll be going back on the road to recruit Thursday so this was an opportunity on the calendar to attend a game and support the team,” Lavin said in a statement. “I will continue a modified schedule with duties that include being at practices, recruiting the 2012 class and attending certain games.”
As reported in this earlier column, Lavin has been recruiting for the past few months, allowing St. John’s to effectively have two staffs similar to the Ohio Sate football situation — one that coaches and one that recruits.
Still, he told SNY in this video interview he definitely plans to return as head coach.
“It’s clear I’m going to come back [as head coach at St. John’s],” he told SNY. “I’ll be back at some point.”
Sources told SNY.tv Lavin plans to spend January recruiting a number of prospects, including 2012 power forward JaKarr Sampson of Brewster (N.H.) Academy, a onetime St. John’s commit; 2012 power forward Chris Obekpa and 2012 shooting guard Felix Balamou, both of Our Savior New American; 2012 junior college forward Orlando Sanchez of Monroe (N.Y.) College; 2013 point guard Jaren Sina of Gill St. Bernard’s (N.J.); 2012 power forward Ricardo Gathers, who decommitted but remains interested in St. John’s; and 2013 Louisiana prospect Jarell Martin,detailed exclusively in this feature.
As for Gathers, Reserve (La.) Riverside coach Timmy Byrd told SNY.tv he remains wide open.
“He’s open,” Byrd said Wednesday. “He’s still got St. John’s and LSU on the list, the last list he put out. He’s got Duke and Florida and Baylor.
“I think a lot of people are recruiting him or trying to recruit him. He’s played pretty well this year. His game has expanded and improved.
“Naturally, I think everybody in the country would want him.”
Asked how Lavin’s current status impacts his ability to recruit, Byrd gave an answer which likely sums up how most recruits feel.
“I think Ricardo understands and empathizes with Coach Lavin’s condition and he understands it but to say it didn’t have an impact on Ricardo’s decision to open it back up would be disingenuous,” Byrd said.
“I think it definitely has an impact. Him not being on the sidelines, it’s a big question mark about his health.
“I think everybody’s hoping that his health is going to turn out to be OK but we still don’t know.
“Ricardo hasn’t really talked much about it, either.”
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.