By Jeff Goodman
By now, you probably know that St. John's hyped freshman class, the one that was ranked just behind Kentucky and Duke, took a significant hit on Thursday.
Three guys - all considered Top 100 players - didn't qualify to play this semester. Amir Garrett's father told CBSSports.com that his son Amir, a two-sport star who intends to play minor league baseball in the summer, will take classes in the fall with the hope of suiting up for the Red Storm in December.
Norvel Pelle may do the same, but JaKarr Sampson - according to a source - is leaning towards heading back to prep school, where he could re-open his recruitment.
Now the Red Storm Nine are down to a half-dozen. Two of them are junior college kids, one is Chicago guard Phil Greene and the other three are highly regarded, consensus Top 100 high schoolers: Sir'Dominic Pointer, Maurice Harkless and D'Angelo Harrison.
Let's face it: St. John's was going to take their lumps this year, anyway.
Steve Lavin has already proven he can get players - and he'll continue to get them.
This was a setback, but I wouldn't push the panic button if I were, say, Chris Mullin, Mark Jackson, Bill Wennington or just an ordinary St. John's fan.
This season will be rough as the Red Storm will not only be young, but they'll also lack depth. That's a brutal combination in a league as unforgiving to inexperience as the Big East.
But there were only so many minutes, anyway, and now Pointer, Harkless and Harrison will gobble up the majority of them - instead of having to split them with the JUCO kids and also Sampson, Pelle and Garrett.
There's still a chance, at least according to Darrow Garrett, that his son and Pelle wind up in uniform for the second semester. Sampson is a big-time athlete and many have him ranked highest of the entire class, but he's still not a program-changer. He's a piece that would have certainly helped.
But The Johnnies will be fine. It's just going to take some time.