Tuesday, July 19th, 2011...12:46 am

My New Friends

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Although my resume says I’m a college sports aficionado, I’m no recruiting guru. Many college sports fans are though. I suppose the allure is to get the inside scoop on future stars. It’s a warm cutesy feeling to discover a player, or at least knew about him from the very start. My buddy Lil Daddy told me he wakes up every morning at 5am for two reasons — to feed his baby and to check the Michigan recruiting blogs.

The whole recruiting business is kind of creepy. Grown men fawn over teenagers attributes like their “length” or “motor”. It’s so hard for me to be a fan of recruiting since it’s unclear what I’m following. I’m not watching basketball games. It doesn’t actually matter who wins the meaningless high school or summer league games. Instead recruiting fans spend their time reading scouting reports, sharing rumors, keeping fingers crossed the recruits pass all their classes and getting aroused by watching crappily produced Youtube video highlights (DMX soundtrack undoubtedly).

Recruiting junkies like to brag to all the normal (below average to them) fans how much more he (I’ve never met a female recruiting guru) knows about their program than you do. Recruitiniks make it seem like they all just came from, or are about to, grab a beer with the coaching staff. They’ll say stuff like “This kid we got can straight up fly and has the softest hands since Chris Carter. He scored eight touchdowns a game in his sophomore season and he would have had more if the coach didn’t sit him. Ohio State and USC wanted him bad but he wanted to go to a “clean program”. He is such a good kid. The only questions is if he should line up in the slot or out wide.”. All this bravado even though there is a good chance nobody has even seen the sixteen year old kid play ball in an actual game.

Recruiting is to college sports what US Weekly is to Hollywood. Why watch the actual event (sports game=movie) when you can gossip about it instead!

As I said. I don’t get it.

Then one day Steve Lavin came to St. John’s. That day everything changed. Now I love recruiting. As my hipster friends Marc and Jon would say, it’s Mint Condition Son!

The Johnnies have a huge recruiting class of nine players this year. They’re basically flipping over the entire team from last year’s senior laden yet talent-challenged squad. The amazingness is that the recruiting class is ranked #3 in the entire nation. Only Duke and North Carolina are better. Consider this: Before this season the Johnnies have not had a top 100 recruit since Elijah Ingram in 2002. Norm Roberts just couldn’t land a stud. Now they have five in the top 75. Yup, Steve Lavin can really “Roy” em.

The best part of the recruiting class is that they are such great kids. True, I’ve never seen any of them every play in a game. But I know everything about them. In fact I consider them friends.

The anticipation is lovely. It’s like the nine hottest girls on Facebook just friended me and all agreed to start dating yours truly this fall. That is how I feel right now.

I’d like to introduce you to my new pals. I’m sure you will love them too.

Sir’Dominic Pointer (6-6, 195, Ranked #24)
Sir Dom is from Michigan and chose St. John’s over the Wolverines. When he did I hit up Sitman and every Michigan fan I could find and taunted them. At that point in his life his name was just Dom Pointer but at some point over the last 10 months he must have realized that he should be addressed with the respect that an up and coming Big East defensive stopper deserves. He shuts down his man. I’ve never seen him allow a basket. Pointer is a more athletic and aggressive version of Andre Igoudola. He also has the sickest follow up tip dunks. Sir Dom keeps it real on Twitter (@SirDom1) where he can usually be found “chillin”.

Jakarr Sampson (6-8, 200, Ranked #31)
Jakarr was the first player in the class to commit to St. John’s. He did so after consulting his boy Lebron James who recommended he go to the bright lights of NYC. Jakarr is from Akron and attended the same high school as James for a hot minute and plays on Lebron’s AAU team the King James Shooting Stars. Sampson is long. He is athletic. He is a natural three who can play the four and defend the two. He runs the break and plays above the rim.

Maurice Harkless (6-6, 200 Ranked #38)
Ironically, Mo is actually one of the only guys in the recruiting class actually from NYC thereby making him my hometown favorite. I also like him because he’s bouncy. He runs lanes agilely. No wasted motion. He can knock down the three-point shot and has a sweet mid-range pull-up. Best of all, he decomitted from UCONN before signing with St. John’s. Remember when UCONN got all the recruits. Well, now we know how they did it. They cheated. Here’s some mix tape action. Also, go to Twitter now to be the 937th follower of @moe_harkless.

D’Angelo Harrison (6-3, 180 Ranked #63)
I’m not sure I could have ever imagined the Johnnies landing a gunner from Texas but that’s just what they have here. Harrison is a scoring machine who can put points on the board in a hurry. He shoots like Glenn Rice and scores like Mark Aguirre. He takes big shots. Mad confidence son. No fear. Gotta love that about the kid. Here is his YouTube reel.

Norvel Pelle (6-9, 200 Ranked #75)
Pelle is from the LBC. He is the best Big Man on the West Coast and naturally shunned UCLA, Washington and Oregon to come East. He has a lengthy frame with a pterodactyl wing span. He has an engine likes a Maserati and hops like a Mexican jumping bean. Mad bouncy. He’s more creative on the glass than Chagall. Here he is “in da labbbbb” on Youtube.



Amir Garrett (6-6, 190 Ranked #96)
The only thing holding Garrett back from dominating the Big East is a 96 mile per hour left-handed fastball that just got him drafted by the Cincinnati Reds. He’s the next David Price if he wants to be. The upside on this kid is tremendous. He’s sick on the basketball court also. Garrett has that prototypical wing-type frame for the next level (whatever level you think that is add one more). He has superb athleticism, length, and he plays with reckless abandon. Watch him dunk over a 7’2″ schlub. Just wait till his perimeter skills evolve. If this kids comes to Queens…watch out!



Phil Greene (6-2, 170)
Greene is a shifty, slender combo guard from the Windy City. He has sick quickness and is silky smooth. He attacks. He finishes. A shifty ballhandler, he can either get into the lane and finish or pull up to hit mid-range jumpers. He compares himself to Rondo with a jump shot. Defensively, his length and quickness allow him to shut down both guard positions. His YouTube video is slick (produced by IMG Academy).

Nurideen Lindsey (6-4, 185)
Lindsay is the next Allen Iverson. He can score at will. Nuri is one of the top JUCO ballers in the nation. He averaged 22 points per game last year at Redlands CC. In his first game he put up 49 points and there was talk of him going straight to the NBA. Chad Ford has him ranked as the 63rd best prospect for 2012. He is a streetball legend in Philadelphia, where he averaged 38 points per game as a junior in High School. He then took two years off due to the tragic death of a close friend and his younger brother. Watch Lindsey drilling in this video. He never misses a shot! GHe can be found on twitter (@NurideenLindsey) praising the lor.d

Godsgift Achiuwa (6-9, 220)
Define intervention landed this JUCO All-American post player in Jamaica rounding out the Johnnies recruiting class. “Gift” is a tenacious, relentless paint player with high moral character. Since the Johnnies had recruited five wing players it was essential they get another big guy. His parents are Nigerian ministers who are quite biblical. His brother’s name is Promise, God’s Will and Precious. His sisters’ names are Grace and Peace. Here is Godsgift sharing the secrets of his unique name on ESPN.

So there you have it. Aren’t these guys just great. I can’t wait to hang out with them next year.