Valdir Manuel to St. John's | Zagsblog
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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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Tuesday / April 23.
  • Valdir Manuel to St. John’s

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    Valdir Manuel, the 6-foot-9 Class forward from Harcum (PA) College and The Patrick School, has committed to St. John’s.

    Manuel initially committed to Seton Hall in March, and later pledged to St. Joe’s in July. After he was deemed academically ineligible for college, he enrolled at Harcum. At St. John’s, he will have three years of eligibility beginning in the 2019-20 season.

    A source said Manuel “has NCAA tasks he has to complete” and St. John’s “fully expects him to be cleared to play next season.

    St. John’s assistant Matt Abdelmassih has been monitoring Manuel and has seen him play this season.

    “St. John’s has been recruiting me the hardest,” Manuel said. “I’ve built a very good relationship with the coaching staff over the phone.”

    St. John’s believes Manuel is a better fit for their up-tempo offense than Oak Hill Academy (VA) senior big man Kofi Cockburn, and this effectively takes St. John’s out of the Cockburn Sweepstakes. The former Christ the King big man is also considering UConn, Pitt, Illinois and Kansas.

    Manuel joins N.C. State transfer Ian Steere, who hopes to get a waiver to join St. John’s at the semester break in 2019.

    Manuel has started 14 of 15 games for Harcum (12-3), averaging 15.9 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks while shooting 58 percent from the field.

    Ond Dec. 15, Manuel went for 26 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks in a win over Harford.

    On Nov. 30, Manuel had 14 points and 13 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season.

    “As far as Valdir’s skill set, he is probably the most unique player I’ve ever coached,” Harcum coach Drew Kelly said. “He’s incredibly skilled, but yet incredibly raw all at the same time. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that he picked up the game late and he’s only been playing for a few years. He has tremendous upside potential, perhaps more than any player I’ve ever coached (and I’ve had over 30 D1 signees at Harcum). If he puts in the work, he could be an all-conference player in the Big East.”

    Manuel was instrumental in helping the Patrick School capture the Tournament of Champions title in 2017 on a team that included current Kentucky sophomore Nick Richards.

    Manuel will bring a diverse offensive game to college.

    “I’m a big who can score on the block, can face up, can block shots and can play outside/inside,” he said.

    Photo: Harcum College

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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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