St. John's Expecting All Newcomers to be Eligible

Anytime you bring in a recruiting class of nine players, there can be complications and casualties along the way.

Yet St. John’s expects every member of its nine-man class — ranked No. 3 nationally — to be academically eligible for the 2011-12 season.

“We are hopeful in anticipating that all of our incoming men’s basketball student-athletes will meet their NCAA eligibility requirements and join us on campus for classes in a few short weeks,” said Mark Fratto, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Communications.

With one returning scholarship player in junior Malik Stith, the Red Storm will feature a group comprised of seven freshmen, one sophomore and one junior. The class features six recruits ranked in the Top 100 in the nation. They must replaced 96.3 percent of its scoring and 97.8 percent of its rebounding in the coming season.

Included in the nine-man class is 6-foot-7 wing Amir Garrett (pictured), who agreed to terms Monday night on a contract with the Cincinnati Reds that includes a $1 million signing bonus over five years, according to Baseball America.

A highly-regarded left-handed pitcher who was a 22nd-round draft pick, Garrett will also play hoops for head coach Steve Lavin.

“I’m blessed to be able to be apart of the #Reds baseball organization and still be able to play basketball at St. Johns,” Garrett tweeted. “#God is Great.”

Garrett could have played strictly baseball and gone with the money, but instead will attempt to be part of something special as Lavin starts over with a heralded class.

“Amir Garrett is a special talent,” Lavin said on signing day. “His length, explosiveness, quickness, and highly-skilled game make him an ideal fit for our system of play. Amir was clearly the most tenacious prospect that we evaluated in the 2011 recruiting class and his highly competitive nature will be critical as we build our program.”

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