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Tag Archives: Johnnies

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



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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


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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 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 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, 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, “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


Special thanks to for quotes and updates


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This is the official blog of Dan ‘The Funny Man’ Martin and Tim ‘The Greek’ Dimas, Sports Directors of WSJU Radio, the home of everything St. Johns. We hold weekly shows on talking about everything sports. Here in the New York market, we cover all the locals: Mets, Yankees, Jets, Giants, Knicks and Nets, as well as take you around the country and around the world, covering everything in the NBA, MLB, NHL, and NFL, and, of course, all things Red Storm. We are the official student home of St. John’s Sports, including full coverage of Men’s Basketball LIVE from Madison Square Garden and Carnesecca Arena as well as road dates that have included Rutgers, Duke, and, new this year, UCLA. This blog is designed to invite people to read our thoughts and share theirs. ESPN may have the name but we have the passion that is needed to succeed. Join our journey and follow us on Twitter at for all your breaking news in sports.

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