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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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Monday / December 18.
  • Lavin May Not Coach Until 2012-13; Wood Decommits

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    Steve Lavin says he will return as the head coach of St. John’s, although it is possible he may not coach again until the 2012-13 season.

    “It’s clear I’m going to come back as the head coach, but from the beginning the doctors have been very clear,” Lavin, 47, told SNY Wednesday.

    “After my premature return and setting myself back on the health front that the most important thing long term for my health is for me to recuperate and to recover. And until that happens, it doesn’t make any sense to speculate or start to play the game with the calendar…

    “I’ll be back at some point but not until I’m healthy.”

    Lavin has missed nine games as he recovers from prostate cancer surgery, but attended Tuesday night’s loss to Louisville at Madison Square Garden and sat in a box.

    In the meantime, Lavin is out on the road recruiting and that became an even higher priority Thursday when Bridgton (Maine) Academy shooting guard Darrick Wood announced he had decommited.

    Sources confirmed a CBSSports.com report that Wood had reopened his recruitment.

    Sources close to Wood’s recruitment also said the former NIA Prep guard had work to do in order to become academically qualified.

    “He can make it, but his test has got to go up some,” one source told SNY.tv.

    Wood is the third former St. John’s commit to reopen, following forwards Ricardo Gathers and JaKarr Sampson. (Read the latest on them here and here.)

    Point guard Nurideen Lindsey also announced he would transfer, although Lavin said on Thursday’s Big East conference call that was an “amicable” split.

    In the meantime, Lavin is acting in a self-described “general manager’ role and said he plans to sign “five or six” players for 2012.

    On Thursday, he watched 6-9 Monroe (N.Y.) College forward Orlando Sanchez at practice.

    St. John’s will also host former Texas A&M guard Jamal Branch this weekend.

    Branch, from Arlington, Texas, averaged 4.2 points and 2.5 assists in 18.6 minutes a game as the backup to senior point guard Dash Harris.

    Branch is also considering Maryland, Arizona and Marquette.

    “It’s the same things that we’re selling when it comes to St. John’s,” Lavin told SNY, “the Big East Conference, Madison Square Garden, great tradition and heritage, a brand of basketball that we think kids prefer to play, an exciting up-tempo baseline-to-baseline attack style of basketball and then an outstanding coaching staff that can help develop you. And then an education from St. John’s in New York City, one of the great places to live in the world and when you put that together it’s very attractive.”

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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.