St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin is about to embark on a coast-to-coast recruiting hunt that could impact the future of the program for years to come.
St. John’s has two pledges for 2011 in Queens wing Maurice Harkless and Brewster (N.H.) Academy forward JaKarr Sampson, but Lavin still has eight more scholarships to give.
“I really don’t follow that stuff,” Harkless said last week at the South Kent (Conn.) School. “That’s the coaches’ job. I’m just hoping they get all the right pieces.”
Lavin cannot comment on recruitable student-athletes, but sources said between Thursday-Tuesday he plans to stop at Brewster (N.H.) Academy to see St. John’s commit JaKarr Sampson and uncommitted point guard Naadir Tharpe.
Tharpe is also considering Kansas, Oklahoma State, N.C. State, UCLA and Minnesota. He confirmed a report on his Twitter that he will visit Oklahoma Oct. 15 and Kansas Oct. 22 and may also visit St. John’s.
Lavin’s trip could also involve visits to wing Amir Garrett of Las Vegas (Nev.) Findlay Prep, Compton (Calif.) forward Norvel Pelle, Dulles (Texas) guard D’Angelo Harrison, Detroit wing Dominique Pointer, Erie (N.Y.) Community College big man God’s Gift Achiuwa and JUCO guard Nurideen Lindsey.
Tuesday marked the end of the NCAA contact period, but coaches can still evaluate prospects.
Harrison is slated to visit St. John’s Oct. 22 and several other players could visit Oct. 15 for Midnight Madness.
Lavin and BTIG Brokerage Co-Founder Steven Starker presented a $20,000 gift Tuesday to the St. John’s Bread and Life Soup Kitchen in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.
Lavin and his wife, actress Mary Jarou, pledged an additional $25,000 over the next five years that will benefit the soup kitchen, which serves thousands daily in the same neighborhood where St. John’s University was originally founded in 1870.
HOPKINS TO GEORGETOWN
Mikael Hopkins, a 6-9, 215-pound forward from DeMatha Catholic, committed to Georgetown over Maryland, Virginia Tech, Miami, West Virginia, Texas and Ohio State. He is the No. 12 power forward in the Class of 2011.
“I feel as though I fit [Georgetown’s] system well,” Hopkins told Josh Barr of The Washington Post. “And it’s close to home and I have a little sister who I want to have come to my games.”
Hopkins also liked Georgetown’s “tradition of getting big men to the [NBA] and their program. They have a great program.”
DAVIS RECLASSIFIES TO 2012
Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame Prep guard Myles Davis has reclassified to the Class of 2012 from 2011, as reported by Alex Kline.
Sam Davis, the father of the New Jersey guard, said it was in his son’s best interests.
“We have decided that he should reclassify due to his age,” Sam said by text. “Myles is still only 16 and has played at the higher levels since U10 AAU. he will only be a 17-year-old freshman and we feel that is too young for a high major.
“Although he is very mature on the court he needs a little more time in life to develop.”
LOUISVILLE DOWN 3 PLAYERS
Louisville coach Rick Pitino told reporters in Louisville Tuesday that his team could be down three players when practice begins Oct. 15, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Pitino said the NCAA has ruled incoming freshman center Gorgui Dieng ineligible. The school is appealing the NCAA’s decision. Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein told the AP the issue deals with Dieng’s academics. Dieng, who is from Senegal, spent last season at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep.
Pitino also said junior forward Jared Swopshire will miss the next six weeks with a sports hernia-type injury. Freshman guard Russ Smith of Queens is also out eight to 12 weeks with an ankle injury.
Louisville already lost freshman Justin Coleman and transfer Roburt Sallie because they did not meet admission requirements.
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