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.
Norvel Pelle, the Rivals No. 1 center in the Class of 2011, remains on the board and is wide open in his recruitment — with only about two weeks to go before the end of the late signing period May 16.
“He’s still interested in college basketball,” Rambo Rasheed, Pelle’s trainer and close friend, told SNY.tv Monday by phone from California. “He’s getting his academics together. Right now he’s taking online courses.”
The 7-foot Pelle originally committed to St. John’s and was part of Steve Lavin’s heralded recruiting class before he finally decommitted last November.
Rasheed said “a number of schools” were interested in Pelle, who attended Dominguez High and lives in Long Beach, Calif.
Rasheed listed Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Rhode Island, DePaul, UTEP, Louisville, New Mexico, San Diego State, Nevada, Florida and Fresno.
Asked if any visits had been planned, Rasheed said, “We’re still trying to figure it out as of right now.”
One Division 1 head coach in the know said Pelle still had work to do in order to qualify.
“I don’t think it’s impossible,” the coach said. “He’s got a lot of work to do. It’s a long shot.”
The coach added: “The kid is ridiculously talented. He’s an NBA player, two years max.”
Pelle was one of three St. John’s players declared academically ineligible last summer — along with Amir Garrett and JaKarr Sampson. Garrett enrolled at St. John’s in December and Sampson has signed an NLI to play there next year.
Pelle initially turned up at the Phelps School in Malvern, Pa., but didn’t stay there long.
“He left there, he’s back home,” Rasheed said. “We take care of the classes online, just making sure that things are done right.”
Rasheed, vice president of the Los Angeles-based Buckets Academy, said Pelle has been playing on the AAU circuit with that team and impressing.
“He’s been playing on the AAU circuit,” he said. “A lot of coaches are pleased with how he’s in shape. Now he’s more of a combo guard, a three through five instead of just a five.
“He’s able to shoot the ball and handle the ball now to where he can play the three position to the five. A lot of people are pelased with his basketball and how he’s in shape.”
As for what’s up next, Rasheed said, “He wants to visit Rhode Island, DePaul, New Mexico, all five [visits].”
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.