Shamorie Ponds is on SJU campus this weekend for official visit

NEW YORK CITY - August 22, 2015: Under Armour Elite 24 game at Pier 2 in Brooklyn New York. (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour)
(Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Shamorie Ponds will be taking his official visit to St. John’s this weekend. Ponds, a Brooklyn native, is considered to be a strong lean for SJU. Will he pop after this weekend? Discuss with St. John’s fans on in the Johnny Jungle forum.

Kassoum Yakwe commits to St. John’s for 2015

Kassoum Yakwe
Kassoum Yakwe committed to St. John’s today. Yakwe recently took official visits to St. John’s (Aug 13-15) and Oregon.

Yakwe broke the news to 247sports reporter Andrew Slater saying,

“Coach (Steve) Lav(in) did a great job of recruiting me for three years. He deserves credit for helping me to learn about the school. My friend and teammate Felix Balamou has been great about helping me know what it’s like at St. John’s. I built a really good relationship with the coaching staff since April. Matt (Abdelmissah) has been the lead recruiter and he’s been recruiting me since Iowa State. Now, when he came back to New York, Matt’s been recruiting me to St. John’s. He’s one of the main reasons why I chose St. John’s, but I also liked the facilities and I wanted to stay local. Those are the main reasons.”

Yakwe will round off the 2015 class and an overhauled St. John’s squad. Mullin and staff will now turn their attention to class of 2016 with priority #1 being Shamorie Ponds.

Lavin Lands Philadelphia Point Guard Rysheed Jordan

Philadelphia point guard Rysheed Jordan, the number 22 overall prospect on the ESPN Top 100, has verbally committed to St. John’s University.

Jordan had been mulling over joining the Temple Owls and UCLA Bruins, but this morning he took to twitter to make his decision clear through several tweets such as “IM A JOHNNIE, NEW YORK HERE I COME,” as well as  “RED STORM BABY.”

The recent departure of Amir Garret left coach Steve Lavin with one open scholarship. Jordan had visited Lavin and St. John’s in September of 2012, a trip that was reported to have the University emerge in Jordan’s eyes.

Jordan will join a backcourt that currently only features three other players in D’Angelo Harrison, Phil Greene, and Jamal Branch. Unlike those three however, he is considered a pure point guard.

“I’m one of the best point guards in the country,” Jordan said in a USA Today video feature. “My secret weapon is my passing, I work on my passing everyday. You have to know your teammates, you have to know where they like the ball.”

In his last high school season Jordan averaged 24.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.3 steals as he led Vaux Roberts High School to winning the PIAA Class A Championship.

The 6’4 point guard will look to help a team that sat 203rd in the nation in assist. Pending any unknown issues, Jordan will be ready to join the team during their foreign tour this summer.

Brewster Academy’s JaKarr Sampson Recommits to St. John’s

JaKarr Sampson Commits to St. John's

JaKarr Sampson is headed back to Queens.

After being ruled ineligible at the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, Sampson returned to Brewster Academy for a prep year.

Though he took time to look elsewhere, Brian Snow of Scout.com is reporting that Sampson will return to St. John’s in the fall of 2012.

He was being courted by Baylor, Kansas, Providence, and others.

Sampson is an ultra-athletic wing and the most important target for St. John’s in the Class of 2012. His commitment to return to Queens signals a turn for the better and fruits of labor for Steve Lavin’s inroads on the recruiting trail.

In the fall of 2011, in the wake of Nurideen Lindsey leaving the program and the decommitment of Darrick Wood, Norvel Pelle, Ricardo Gathers, and Sampson, himself, questions were raised about the direction of the program.

It took time, but the questions are being answered. All of the behind-the-scenes work by Lavin and his staff, as St. John’s completed its strong 2011-12 season, is culminating in this grand stage performance, beginning with Sampson’s recommitment.

Sampson was dominant at Brewster this past season, leading his team to a national championship and showing why he is more than worthy of the high-major interest he was garnering.

He is St. John’s third recruit for Steve Lavin in the Class of 2012. Felix Balamou committed last week, while Texas A&M transfer Jamal Branch will be eligible in the second semester of the 2012 season. Lavin has said that the Red Storm are looking to sign five players during the spring signing period.

Nurideen Lindsey Transfers to Arkansas

This post also appears on NBCSports.com’s Beyond the Arc blog.

After an abrupt announcement to leave St. John’s back in early December, Nurideen Lindsey has announced, via Twitter, that he will transfer to Arkansas and play for head coach Mike Anderson.

“One [reason I chose St. John’s] was to be close to my mom, whose health has been up and down due to some past experiences,” said Lindsey of his original commitment to the Red Storm. “The second was to play for Coach [Steve] Lavin. In both instances it has not worked out how I envisioned.”

Lavin, who continues to work back from prostate cancer surgery in the fall, has only coached in a handful of games for the Red Storm this season.

Lindsey tells CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman that the original transfer plans did not work out.

“The whole idea of staying close to home was definitely more ideal,” Lindsey told CBSSports.com. “But unfortunately, the schools close to home weren’t a fit and most didn’t have scholarships.”

He cites Temple and St. Joseph’s as schools that had been of interest.

Lindsey is no stranger to that area of the country, having spent a season at Redlands Community College in Oklahoma, prior to joining St. John’s. He averaged 22 points per game in one season at Redlands.

When he joins the team, the Razorbacks are getting a ballhandler with a quick first step and impressive body control around the rim.

Problems arose for Lindsey this season against teams with length and athleticism, including Kentucky and Detroit, games in which he went a combined 2-of-9 from the floor, for four points and 11 turnovers. His inability to step out and work in the midrange became more apparent in assistant coach Mike Dunlap’s half-court system.

And, for just that reason, Lindsey fits well at Arkansas.

He will be part of a youthful backcourt that includes freshman BJ Young, who is averaging nearly 15 points per game, Rashad Madden, Rickey Scott, and Mardracus Wade.

Mike Anderson runs a deep bench, with nine players playing in every game and all nine averaging 15+ minutes per game. They run the floor and attack in transition, which is where Lindsey operates best.

As per NCAA rules, he will sit out this semester and the first of the 2012-13 season, giving him 1 ½ years of eligibility at Arkansas.