BIG EAST RECRUITING UPDATE: ST. JOHN'S
May 27, 2008
VERBAL COMMITMENT ALERT: Malik Stith (PG), 5'11 from Eash Mecklenberg (NC) HS
Projected 2008-2009 Roster:
Seniors: Anthony Mason (F), Tomas Jasiulionis F/C)
Sophomores: Justin Burrell (PF), Malik Boothe (PG), Rob Thomas (F), Ayodele Coker (C), Paris Horne (G), DJ Kennedy (G), Sean Evans (F)
Freshman: Quincy Roberts (G), Ty Edmondson (PG)
2009 Commitments: Malik Stith (PG)
Long Island native Malik Stith is heading back home. Stith, who completed his senior year at East Mcklenberg High School last season has verbally committed to St. John's and will join Norm Roberts' squad after a year at prep school. Stith to St. John's (zagsblog) is the first commitment for the Redstorm in the class of 2009.
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Things have not gone well for St. John's. Another season of no post-season which was filled with embarrassing losses at Madison Square Garden. Seems like the ritual every spring in the program is who can get out first, this past year it was Larry Wright and Mike Cavataio leaving the program. The 'storm went o-fer in the early signing period, but managed a couple late period signees and also added a 2009 commitment prior to the Memorial Day holiday.
Malik Stith, a native of Long Island, committed to St. John's recently after completing his senior season at East Mecklenberg High School in North Carolina. Stith will prep one season at Bridgton Academy, the same institution that has sent current SJU players Paris Horne and Justin Burrell to the Redstorm program.
Stith had a big season at East Mecklenberg and his play this spring for the United Celtics impressed the St. John's staff enough to earn a scholarship offer. Others involved with Stith at this point were Wichita State, Winthrop and George Mason, but more would have been involved if they knew his academic situation and that he would be in the class of 2009.
Stith, the Southwestern 4A player of the year, made the boys all-state first team in North Carolina as he led East Mecklenberg to the class 4-A North Carolina High School basketball championship by scoring 20 points in the final game, a 72-63 win over Apex. He also added 7 steals, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in the game and his ability to handle the ball was the key component to running out the clock. Stith is a very good ball handler who is exceptionally quick with the ball. He will be a perfect compliment to Malik Boothe and give SJU another top-notch ball handler.
Norm Roberts' long-term future is very uncertain with the Redstorm and that is obviously not going to help on the recruiting trail. Despite that uncertainty, Roberts and staff were able to land a solid commitment from Harrisburg High School's Quincy Roberts in the 2008 late signing period. The 6'4, 190 lb guard was one time a commitment for Miami (FL), but opted not to sign last fall and re-opened his recruitment. Roberts' recruitment had been rather quiet throughout the season, but after averaging over 18 points a game, along with 6 rebounds and 5 assists, the Mid-Penn all-conference selection suddenly saw a spike in his recruiting as he quickly became one of the top unsigned prospects left on the recruiting board. After considering Virginia as well, Roberts decided to join the Redstorm program and pledged to Norm Roberts on Tuesday morning.
Ty Edmondson also committed to St. John's last month and you can place him on the St. John's roster for 2008-2009. Edmondson is an athletic and tall guard that will help run the show for St. John's, giving Malik Boothe help handling the ball next season. A very strong senior season was punctuated by winning the slam-dunk contest in the Kentucky-Ohio All-Star game. As a senior, Edmondson averaged 18.4 points per game, 6.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.7 steals at UHA helping the Blazers to a 30-5 record helping the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) District 8 and Region 2 championship.
With the late additions of Edmondson and Roberts and the early commitment of Stith, St. John's has two scholarships open for the 2008-2009 season and still might be beating the bushes for a JUCO big man and are also involved in potential late qualifiers such as DeAndre Kane out of Schenley HS in Pittsburgh, former teammate of DJ Kennedy, and Sean Kilpatrick out of White Plains HS in New York. Both guards are quality recruits, but their academic situations raise questions on what class they will end up in.
If nobody is added for the class of 2008 at this point, St. John's will continue recruiting for the 2009 class with three scholarships available. With point guard taken care of, help up front and on the wing are the likely points of emphasis.four targets that get a lot of attention from St. John's include NY Gaucho AAU teammates Tevin Baskin (6'6 forward) and Dan Jennings (6'8 PF/C), Lincoln (NYC) HS 6'8 PF/C James Padgett and Linden (NJ) HS center David Bruce. Kevin Parrom is another player the Redstorm has been looking at very closely and the rumored addition of Oswald Cross to the SJU staff could help a lot in his recruitment, along with that off AAU teammate Omari Lawrence. Other wings on the list for Norm Roberts include Mount Vernon's Sherrod Wright and James Stukes of NYC.
Roberts recently received a vote of confidence from the St. John's administration, hoping to give him a lift on the recruiting trail, and signed a new rollover contract. However, the uncertainty of his future still hangs over the program like a 'storm cloud and will continue to handcuff his recruiting. Winning this season (2008-2009) still seems like a longshot in the Big East, but might even be too late to help with the recruiting of the class of 2009, which most will sign prior to the season beginning, but it would show progress, and that is what SJU desperately needs ASAP!