Pelle is key piece for St. John's

The decision is in for Norvel Pelle and he is headed to St. John's. The power forward now gives the Red Storm a well rounded class.

Leading up to the announcement by Norvel Pelle on Thursday evening, the St. John's Red Storm had already built up an impressive collection of recruits. St. John's checked in as having the number four class in the country, but still there were questions about the class.

One look at the St. John's commitment list and it was obvious that talent was there. Four prospects ranked in the top 100, and then Nurideen Lindsey is also considered one of the best junior college prospects in the country.

However all of those prospects made their home on the wing. Jakarr Sampson, Sir'Dominic Pointer, and Maurice Harkless are small forwards. D'Angelo Harrison and Lindsey are considered shooting guards, though Lindsey could also slide over and play on the ball. Clearly what was missing was a big man who could have some impact in the paint.

Now the Red Storm have their interior presence in the 6-foot-9 Pelle. Pelle, who excels at blocking shots, is an excellent athlete like the rest of the commitments, but unlike those guys he brings the legit size to play inside.

At 6-foot-7 and 195 pounds, Sampson might have been getting worried that he would have to be the center in this class, but no longer. Now Sampson might be one of the happiest players in the country to have Pelle in the fold.

"It made me real happy," said Sampson. "It is just another piece to the puzzle. Coach (Steve) Lavin is doing a great job of putting an athletic team together who can get out and defend as well as run."

Pointer agreed with his future teammate that landing Pelle was huge for this class, "It was very important. I haven't seen him play, but I have heard about him and I know he can block shots. We needed a center real, real bad. I am glad we picked him up. He will help us out a lot."

According to Sampson he knows exactly the dimension that Pelle can bring because he played on the same team as the new commitment during the summer.

"I really like his game," explained Sampson. "I played on the same team as him at the St. John's Summer Elite Camp. He is nice, he is athletic, he can run, and he will fit in perfectly."

Harkless added about the most recent commitment, "Being able to lock down Norvel assured me that we are going to have someone down low for years. The way we are going to play is very up and down so he won't be a wide body who clogs the lane.It is a great addition to what we already have."

Of all the commitments in the class, Pointer might be the most athletic. Now with Pelle in the fold he is joined by five other very athletic guys, and that is something that has Pointer extremely excited for the type of basketball that will be played by St. John's.

"It is going to be real fun," Pointer explained. "I know how athletic I am, and now we got an athletic big guy like this and some other athletic guys, it is going to be real fun. We are going to get up and down, play tough defense, and just get after it."

There is no doubt that this class was big time before the addition of Pelle, but it wasn't the most well rounded class. Now with Pelle on board, St. John's has talent on the perimeter without a hole in the middle, and that alone makes this commitment possibly the biggest one of the recruiting season for Lavin and his coaching staff.

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