Coker Headed to Big East

Dele Coker found a way to fly under the radar for a while, but the big Nigerian out of South Kent (Conn.) blew up recently. St. John's, Pittsburgh, Indiana and even the defending national champs gave chase - and Coker settled on a Big East school.

St. John's got its man.

Norm Roberts and the Red Storm staff made Dele Coker (, No. 81) their priority throughout the summer and the big 6-foot-10, 260-pound Nigerian committed to St. John's just days after his official visit to the school.

``He called me Saturday while he was on the visit and told me he wants to shut it down," South Kent coach Raphael Chillious said. "It was a two-horse race between Pittsburgh and St. John's and he felt comfortable at St. John's."

Coker was also being pursued by Indiana and Florida also recently entered the picture.

``He loved the family atmosphere," Chillious added. "His family are big-time Christian people and they wanted Dele to know it's more than just about him. St. John's has a great community service program for the basketball players and that was big for the family."

Coker is a guy who has improved dramatically since arriving at South Kent.

``He's gotten better every day," Chillious said. "The way he plays personifies the Big East. He's physical and scraps for everything. Plus, they are getting a quality citizen who they won't ever have to worry about."

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