St. John's basketball recruits ruled ineligible
Sep 21, 2011 | 9651 views | 0 0 comments | 97 97 recommendations | email to a friend | print
St. John's University's much-heralded freshman recruiting class – it was ranked the third best in the nation – just took a major hit.

St. John’s University head coach Steve Lavin announced Thursday that prospective men’s basketball student-athletes Amir Garrett, Norvel Pelle and JaKarr Sampson will be unable to qualify for the 2011 fall semester.

With St. John’s now in the third week of classes, the university will continue to work in concert with the NCAA to review the cases of the student-athletes this fall for potential enrollment in the spring of 2012.

“We will continue to work with the NCAA in an effort to review Amir, Norvel and JaKarr’s cases regarding their eligibility,” said Lavin. “We are hopeful that Amir, Norvel and JaKarr will be able to join us on the court this winter, and in the classroom when the 2012 spring semester begins.”

St. John’s will continue to work with the NCAA Eligibility Center during the fall semester to attempt to secure spring enrollment for all three student-athletes. If granted, the first time Garrett, Pelle and Sampson would be able to participate in Red Storm team practice would be Dec. 19, with their first potential game participation on Dec. 21 vs. Texas Pan-American.

“The NCAA Eligibility Center informed us this afternoon that after a review, these three cannot qualify at this time,” said Director of Athletics Chris Monasch. “The University has been proactive and diligent in assisting in the reviews for each of our incoming men’s basketball student-athletes. We will continue to review what avenues the student-athletes may have to achieve their initial eligibility.”

The 6-6, 190-pound Garrett is rated as high as the nation's No. 68 overall player and the No. 15 small forward by recruiting services.

The Los Angeles native, was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 22nd Round. He signed a contract hours before the MLB deadline on August 15 and received a $1 million bonus. He will begin his professional baseball career next summer as a member of the Reds' minor league system.

Garrett’s contract and concurrent NCAA rules allow him the chance to play both collegiate basketball and professional baseball.

Rated as high as the nation's No. 2 center and the No. 23 prospect overall by recruiting services, Pelle utilizes his 6-10, 200-pound frame and superior jumping ability to make him one of the country's best shot blockers and most dominant inside players.

Sampson, a 6-7, 190-pound combo forward from Akron, Ohio, is rated as high as the No. 11 player at his position and the No. 31 overall prospect in his class. Averaging 14.0 points per game and 8.0 rebounds at St. Vincent-St. Mary as a junior in 2009-10 – the same high school attended by NBA star LeBron James – Sampson played summer basketball for the King James Shooting Stars, named for his hometown hero.

Lavin’s 2011-12 St. John’s squad will be the youngest in 104 years on the St. John's hardwood and will rank among the youngest in NCAA Division I history.
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