California big man Norvel Pelle (above) who committed this week to St. John’s.
St. John’s new coach Steve Lavin has signed his 6th top 100 recruit for the 2011-2012 class (we count JUCO scoring point guard Nurideen Lindsey among that group even though he will come to St. John’s as a sophomore), and arguably his best recruit yet–6’9, 200 lbs. projected center Norvel Pelle–ranked in the top 20 all around players by www.rivals.com. Pelle, the 2nd very high profile recruit Lavin has landed from California, along with 2010 freshman and projected started Dwayne Polee Jr., who was California’s Mr. Basketball last year. Pelle, straight out of Compton, joins a full complement of guards and wing players on Utopia Parkway, but comes in as the most vital blue chipper so far, because he gives St. John’s much needed length–the only element the school had been lacking in looking at next year’s roster.
Pelle becomes even more important when we consider the paucity of size in the 2011 class. Very few teams will be able to boast a 6’9 player with Pelle’s wingspan. Pelle should see many layup and dunk opportunities with slashers like Maurice Harkless and Jakarr Sampson on the wing, off the may talents of his buddy Polee, and super quick guards D’Angelo Harrison (Texas) and Nurideen Lindsey–perhaps the greatest high school scorer out of Phily since Wilt Chamberlain.
In other St. John’s related news, former coach Norm Roberts who was mercifully dismissed last spring after 5 awful years at the helm, and who, upon his dismissal, declared that he was married to coaching and would be in the business for a long time, has washed out at cheesy local sports cable network SNY, after failing to land a head coaching or top assistant gig.