Having already landed the top New York City player in the Class of 2011 in Maurice Harkless, St. John’s has now gotten a verbal pledge from the best 2012 player in the Big Apple, point guard Jevon Thomas.
Thomas, the No. 14 point guard in the Class of 2012 per Rivals, called Johnnies head coach Steve Lavin Tuesday night to commit.
Asked what he liked about the Johnnies, the 6-foot, 175-pound Thomas said by text, “Coaching staff and I’m just trying to bring NYC basketball back!!”
He also had interest from Washington, Villanova, Syracuse, Wake Forest and West Virginia,
“Jevon will bring back that electric energy and fire back to the Garden and New York,” said Casey Williams, Thomas’ AAU coach.
“He’s a great leader on the court and he’s a New Yorker. He will bring lots of fire and the will to win.”
Harkless is one of five commits the Johnnies have for 2011, with as many as five more scholarships to give for 2011.
The St. John’s staff followed Thomas this summer, watching him with the Gauchos at the Peach Jam, among other events.
Thomas briefly transferred from Our Savior New American on Long Island to St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, but is now back at Our Savior where he is taking sophomore classes.
In order to graduate for 2012, he will have to take summer school classes for the next two summers even as he plays summer ball with the Gauchos, said New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski.
“He was a freshman last year,” said Konchalski. “Now he’s taking sophomore classes. Our Savior says they can get him out in two years but he has to go to summer school for the next two years. He’s 2012 or 2013.”
Thomas said he planned to graduate in 2012.
“Taking on-line classes now and I took summer classes,” he said.
Another source added, “He’ll be fine.”
Whatever the case, Konchalski calls him a potential program-changer.
“He’s an elite guard who has another gear,” he said. “He’s very explosive, skilled, gets into the lane, really pushes the ball in the open floor. He can shoot the ball from the perimeter. He’s very, very good.”
HOOD TO MISSISSIPPI STATE
As reported on my Twitter Wednesday morning, Meridian (Miss.) wing Rodney Hood committed to Mississippi State, choosing the Bulldogs over Louisville and Florida State.
“Hell bring that competitive nature,” Meridian coach Randy Bolden said by phone. “He’s very competitive. He’s going to bring those intangibles. He’s a kid that’s very versatile, that can play multiple positions. That’s one if the things that Coach [Rick] Stansbury said he really liked in Rodney as well.
“He’s a high character kid, a good kid with a lot of basketball savvy.”
The 6-7 Hood is the No. 21 overall prospect in the Class of 2011 per Rivals.
He joins Callaway (Jackson) High point guard Deville Smith, his AAU teammate, at MSU next year.