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“I’m going to take it all the way to New York and play for St. John’s,” Harrison said as he donned a “I Love NY” hat on his head and that seals the deal for another top recruit coming to St. Johns and joining Lavin’s “Ark”.

The 6’3″ guard from Missouri City, Texas chose The Red Storm over Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Big East Rival Marquette.

Harrison joins Maurice Harkless and JaKarr Sampson as the third recruit to join the 2011 St. John’s recruiting list in the past two months. Coach Lavin had an in-home visit with D’Angelo Harrison in Texas on Tuesday.

“Coach Lavin is a very straight up guy and he had a plan for how I would fit. Plus, he told me what I needed to hear and not what I wanted to hear,” said Harrison.

Harrison is one of the best shooting guards in the country scoring 20.9 points during his 2009 high school season at John Foster Dulles High. The 44th ranked player in the 2011 recruiting class is a lethal from the perimeter and explosion off the dribble. Not only can he shoot and take the ball to the rim aggressively, he can also come off and fight through screens something that opens Lavin’s play book even more.

In this high tempo offense that Lavin seems to be putting together, Harrison will cause a lot of match up problems for defenses who have to worry about the lanky slashers in Harkless and Sampson and now Harrison around the arc waiting to rain threes.

Don’t look now folks but St. Johns is now #9 in the Class of 2011 Team Basketball Recruiting Rankings and seemly ready to add even more talent very soon. Nurideen Lindsey could be the next to join the back court with Harrison as well as the big man out of Long Beach, California, Norvel Pelle.

The storm is coming. Can you feel it?

-Tim Dimas

@TimmyD_WSJU

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As the NBA season approaches and training camps have begun, newest New Jersey Net, who recently celebrated his 25th birthday, Anthony Morrow took time out and shared with me a little about his life on and off the court.

Starting at the age of 4 Anthony had a desire to play basketball. He said he admired and wanted to model his game after Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan.

Morrow started his career off in Golden State with the Warriors but it wasn’t an easy road there. Going undrafted Morrow said, “It’s a chip on my shoulder I’ll never lose.”

After signing with the Warriors, Morrow got his first start against the Los Angeles Clippers scoring 37 points on 15-20 shooting. When asked about his emotions before tipoff and the rest of the game he said laughing, “I just knew that I had gotta my legs back from training camp and I felt great, didn’t know it would turn into what it turned into though.”

We then started talking about his new team, The Nets. The Nets had only won twelve games the previous season. That didn’t seem to bother Anthony’s mind state coming to the team. “Just knowing that now everything is new and we’re all excited and competing and having fun making each other better.” How did Anthony describe new coach Avery Johnson? “I can do that in one word, intense.” Morrow explained. Avery Johnson has been known to be a defensive minded coach one thing that seemed like a good thing to Morrow who said becoming better overall especially defensively were one of this main focuses of improvement for this season.

I asked him what his funniest moment in his NBA Career was and he responded, “Missing a summer league practice with the Warriors and being terrified that I would get cut on the spot, it’s funny now but it wasn’t then.” Laughing as he finished the answer.

After discussing basketball I went to the off court Anthony Morrow. What interest’s Anthony Morrow. “The Bible, Xbox, my mom’s cooking, watching Yo Gabba Gabba with my daughter, football, just hanging out with my friends.”  To go along with his mom’s cooking which he said anything she cooks is his favorite meal Anthony said he would want Michael Jordan, Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey as dinner guests.

Inspirations are something most athletes use as motivation. Morrow said his parents were his inspirations.

Anthony has a good taste in music. Being from North Carolina when asked about listening to rising star J Cole, Morrow answered loudly, “YESSIR, he reps North Cack (Nickname for North Carolina). I listen to his mixtape a lot.” He is also fond of Atlanta’s rapper Young Jeezy saying if we were to look through his iPod that Young Jeezy would be an artist that we’d find a lot of music from.

Morrow also has a great interest in sitcoms. His favorite he said were “Martin, Fresh Prince, Living Single, and Seinfeld are a few.” When I asked which one would he like to be on he responded strongly, “MARTIN”.

As our talk came to a close Anthony had a message he wanted to send out to Nets fans. “I’m excited to be here, I’m looking forward to interacting with them and playing for them.”

Anthony Morrow is titled in the category of one of the best pure shooters in the league which goes well with his nickname “Amo”. With a new season ahead Nets fans should be ready to watch Morrow shoot the lights out in the Prudential Center.

Follow him at @BlackBoiPachino.

-Tim Dimas

@TimmyD_WJSU

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Picture uploaded by Mason Jr.'s friend and current St. Johns Center Sean Evans (@shizzy5)

Former St. Johns Red Storm star forward Anthony Mason Jr. has “taken his talents to South Beach” after reaching an agreement with the Miami Heat yesterday.

Tweet from the Official Miami Heat Twitter account announcing the news.

Mason Jr. attended and played for St. Johns University for the past 5 years. In 99 career games in which he started 86 of them he averaged 10.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.1 assist. Mason Jr. is the son of NBA great Anthony Mason.

Anthony is right at home in Florida, where he was born, but still has to make the final cut October 15 but has made a lot of people at the University very proud by getting the invite to join a team that is loaded with all-stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

The WSJU guys would like to wish Anthony a great deal of success in Miami and will keep everyone updated on his status throughout the season.

-Tim Dimas

@TimmyD_WSJU

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Jakarr Sampson, the highly touted 6’8″ swingman from Akron, Ohio, has given his commitment to Steve Lavin to wear Johnnies red and white in 2011.

Attending St. Vincent-St.Mary’s (OH) (LeBron James’ alma mater) for his first three years of high school, Sampson is spending this season at Brewster Academy (NH) before heading to Queens next season. He announced his decision on ESPNU, choosing St. John’s over Louisville and Tennessee. That means, for the first time in recent memory, St. John’s stepped into the ring with recruiting giants Rick Pitino and Bruce Pearl and came out with their man.

Sampson is a consensus Top 50 player by experts across the country and is considered by some, including ESPN Insider Recruiting, to be in the Top 25. There is no doubt that a new era is dawning in St. John’s basketball. Just a few weeks ago, when Forest Hills High (NY) forward Maurice Harkless committed to SJU, talk was that the Red Storm had landed their biggest recruit in a decade. Now, with Sampson on his way, rhetoric is the same. In a matter of weeks, Steve Lavin has managed to outdo himself and, amazingly enough, still has 8 more scholarships to fill for the Class of 2011.

It is now clear the type of player Lavin prefers: the long, slender swingman with athleticism and versatility. His first recruit as St. John’s head coach, current freshman Dwayne Polee Jr. (6’7″, 185lbs), Harkless (6’7, 200lbs), and now Sampson (6’8″, 200lbs) will undoubtedly create big mismatches in the open floor when they all take the court together in 2011.

Scouts point to Sampson’s athleticism as the major catalyst for the rest of his game. Because of his size and length, in combination with his quick first step, he can beat defenders off the dribble and finish above the rim, as well as do work with his back to the basket. On the defensive end, he is regarded as a solid shot blocker and can guard three positions on the floor, thanks to his versatility and natural athleticism. He probably needs to add a considerable amount of muscle to his frame to be more effective at the Division I level, along with polishing his skills under heavy defensive pressure.

And, as mentioned before, the Johnnies are far from done. Eight scholarships remain open and, according to a source, Lavin has eight to ten players on his big board that he has had from the beginning and is confident that he could get a commitment from any of them. Lenn Robbins of the New York Post reports that “sources told The Post that forwards Amir Garrett (No. 51) of California; Dominque Pointer (No. 81) of Winston-Salem, N.C.; and center Norvel Pelle of California, the No. 2 center and No. 19 recruit overall; all could be headed to Queens.”

Perhaps it is true: national recruits are once again seeing red.

-Dan Martin

@Dan_MartinWSJU

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Steve Lavin, in keeping with his agenda to cultivate the basketball talent in New York City, landed his first big recruit of the Class of 2011. Maurice Harkless, the 6’6″ star swingman who averaged 16.5 points and 11.5 rebounds last season at Forest Hills High School (NY) will be wearing St. John’s red and white in 2011 after spending this season in prep school, at South Kent (CT).

“It’s a situation where I call it the St. John’s Noah’s Ark,” Lavin said in a phone interview with SNY.tv earlier this year. “We’re going to need two of every position.”

It looks that Harkless will be the first to step aboard, giving St. John’s two talented, uber-athletic swingmen when paired with Class of 2010 recruit Dwayne Polee Jr. “I always wanted to look into St. John’s but they weren’t that good in the past few years and with a new coach I feel like it’s a brand new opportunity and the coaches are hungry,” Harkless told SNY.tv after his announcement. “I’m in New York. I can represent my city in my city.”

By the sound of it, it looks like St. John’s has completely revamped its national image by bringing Coach Lavin to Queens.  A close advisor to Harkless, Nate Blue, speaking to Johnnyjungle.com, said, “[Former head coach] Norm [Roberts] would take people in New York City to make my people happy. Lavin appeals to kids from New York City to California. Its national.” Name recognition can go a long way. The key to scoring high-level recruits can sometimes be as simple as getting a foot in the door, and that is what Lavin’s resume at UCLA allows. Once that happens, a strong business proposal can make all the difference, which Lavin also seems to do well, according to Blue. “When we met with Norm last year, it was more of a desperation thing. When we’ve sat down with Lavin, he was calm and had a plan.”

Harkless is ranked in both the ESPN Top 100 and the Rivals Top 50 of recruits for the Class of 2011. NBE Basketball Report raves of his ability to use his size and length to get to the basket, likening him to former West Virginia forward and current Los Angeles Laker Devin Ebanks.

Expected to sign during the early signing period in November, will Harkless be able to do some recruiting of his own and bring other top players along with him? It was a factor in his decision, according to Blue, speaking to Johnnyjungle.com, “We got a threat from a Big East coach yesterday that if Mo committed to SJU, he would be double and triple teamed on a team of nobodies.” Clearly, there is a sense of confidence in this decision, confidence that other integral pieces will be added, either through the work of Lavin or Harkless himself, to build a contender.

Said Blue in closing, “There’s going to be a lot of help coming to SJU in the next few weeks. I won’t tip my hat, but there’s more coming soon.”

-Dan Martin

@Dan_MartinWSJU

Special thanks to Johnnyjungle.com for quotes and updates

@JohnnyJungleSTJ

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A Face Knick Fans will have if LeBron Doesn't Join the Team

Don’t mean to be rude and bashful of Amar’e Stoudemire but to be honest he isn’t what the Knicks need or should invest 100 million dollars on. The guy is a great offensive machine but that’s when he has a point guard that can feed him the ball. Who do the Knicks have that can do so? Wilson Chandler. The thought process behind this as the story has been from the media is that Stoudemire was promised to LeBron James in the meeting that took place this past Saturday. Reports are that the Knicks offered to options for LeBron to choose that would satisfy him and bring him to NYC. First one was he took the max contract and then either Chris Bosh, Stoudemire or Joe Johnson would join him or he could take a 5 year deal, not max contract, and the Knicks could afford to get 2 of the 3 guys mentions. Yes they got Amar’e but Joe Johnson today is expected to sign papers to remain with the Hawks and Chris Bosh is out of the question now that Amar’e is “signed”.

The Knicks I feel went in the wrong direction though. Yes Amar’e is a fantastic player but he is not worth a max deal nor does he bring to the table what, who I believe NY should have went after hard, Chris Bosh. Bosh is a better all around player and can create more for himself. LeBron met with Bosh during the off season and not Stoudemire to discuss his plans so question is why would the Knicks go in the opposite direction? Truthfully I am not surprised at this move at all. It is the Knicks. The team known for its ridiculous contracts, ie: Jerome James 5 years 50 million dollar deal a couple years back. What did that get them? Him sitting on the bench more then on the court. The Knicks went into the draft with two second round picks and didn’t try to make a move in the first round. What are they trying to sell to James? Chandler and Danilo Gallinari. They aren’t that appealing and reports are LeBron was not thrilled about the meeting he had with the Knicks stating they were “unprepared”. Of course there are conflicting reports stating he loved what NY had to offer. What to believe right? Well you can believe this. If LeBron doesn’t sign with the Knicks then fans get ready to see your team built around an injury prone center. Yes another one for Knick fans to deal with over the years. And yes Amar’e has said he can get Tony Parker and Carmelo Anthony next year but as a fan I wouldn’t care because I couldn’t stand sitting and watching the Knicks have another losing season.

-Tim Dimas

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Thats right Phil, One more year

Not to far into the off season did the Los Angeles Lakers have to wait to find out their coach Phil Jackson would be returning for another season in which he says, “It’ll be the last stand for me, and I hope a grand one.”

Phil Jackson has 11 titles to his name, 6 with the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan days and 5 with the Lakers.

GM Mitch Kupchak said he is very happy Phil has returned, complimenting him on all his accomplishments with the Lakers and touting him as the best coach in NBA History and with Jacksons record who could not agree.

Terms of the contract aren’t finalized but it is reported Jackson will take a pay cut to remain in LA as he and Kobe hunt for their three peat next season.

-Timmy Dimas

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