St. John’s Sanchez Says He Could Play Overseas If Not Cleared

Orlando Sanchez could end up playing professionally overseas next season if he isn’t given an extra year by the NCAA.

“I’m trying to get my degree and stay at St. John’s, but I could go to the draft or I could play overseas,” the 6-foot-9 Sanchez said Tuesday.

Sanchez said he’s been in touch with former St. John’s and NBA player Felipe Lopez to get some advice.

“We talked to each other the other day for a little bit,”  he said. “He talked to me about his time here and how St. John’s is a good place for me. He was one of my coaches in the Dominican Republic and he has helped me a lot.”

Sanchez, 24, was declared ineligible to start the season and as first reported last month by SNY.tv, the case is considered “closed…and final” by the NCAA.

A recent New York Times story triggered a wave of new interest and new stories on the old subject.

Documents released by St. John’s show that Sanchez played 3 minutes, 38 seconds with the Dominican Republic National Team in 2010, and that triggered him being declared ineligible.

“It’s three minutes and 38 seconds,” Sanchez said. “It’s nothing. How does this cost me my one year of eligibility? It was three minutes and 38 seconds I played for my country. It was an honor. They always say to ‘do something for your country.’ It doesn’t make sense to me.”

On Monday, St. John’s and Sanchez’s attorney, Robert Orr, submitted additional information to the NCAA in the hopes of getting the player cleared to play in 2013-14.

“I’m not angry,” Sanchez said. “I can’t do anything. I can only wait for their decision if I can play or not. All I can do is stay focused on what I do now which is to study and practice basketball. Other than that I can’t do anything.”

If Sanchez were given an extra year, or even if he remained on campus to pursue his education, the Johnnies would be at their full capacity of 13 scholarship players and theoretically could not add a Rysheed Jordan unless someone left the program or perhaps became a walk-on. The 6-4 Jordan is considering St. John’s, TEmple and UCLA and will decide in April.

For now, Sanchez is focusing on getting his degree and says he needs 23 credits.

“Finishing my degree is one of my goals,” he said. “I’m close to finishing, I think I’m about 23 credits away after this semester. If I’m not eligible I’d probably like to stay here and finish my degree.”

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