Future Recruits Brighten St. John's Outlook

Reporter Mike Sullivan takes a look at the status of the St. John's Red Storm basketball program ...

It's a shame St. John's can't start its season over the next few months with the quality of new recruits expected to wear the Red Storm uniform in 2007-2008. Because the recent class of recruits are preparing to be impact players for St. John's return to postseason play.

Head coach Norm Roberts and his very capable assistants have done a terrific job in locating problems on the court and have made an effort to correct the weaknesses.

It wasn't long ago that Roberts decided to employ outstanding assistant Fred Quartlebaum as one of his top recruiters. Quartlebaum came in with a stellar record of recruiting big time players, including employment time with North Carolina of the ACC and Iowa State of the Big 12.

The hard work of such people like Quartlebaum have helped St. John's nail down a solid recruiting class that includes Justin Burrell (6-foot-8), Dele Coker (6-foot-10), Malik Boothe, and Michael Cavataio.

With the recent departures of Avery Patterson and Ricky Torres, could Roberts and his staff continue to add more recruits? Possibly. A source told us that Roberts is always looking and keeping an open mind in how to make St. John's more prepared next season to take a shot a winning 20 games.

The recent success on the recruiting trail is not surprising though when one takes a look at the past history of Roberts (made a living helping Bill Self in the recruiting process) as well as Quartlebaum.

Quartlebaum is from the New York area and went to Fordham. So his ability to recruit in this area is pretty strong as he already had established connections. Roberts is fortunate enough to have him aboard.

The question now for St. John's is how the success of recruiting will transform into the win column starting next season. Burrell is the prized recruit in the class while Boothe is a solid lead guard from Christ The King High School in Middle Village, New York.

Burrell is a vicious, slam the ball in your face type of forward who is capable of intimidating a defense with his skybound dunks and inside play. Boothe is more low-key, keep the ball moving in the right direction and take advantage of his top players with his passing skills.

Coker is a player that St. John's will need to block shots and rebound. Having Burrell with him in this class should help him down the road. Cavataio came on strong in his senior year at St. Francis Prep. He showed the ability to get in the lane and shoot jumpers.

And there are scholarships available to add to this class. Is Roberts done? Only Norm knows. But he's still looking from what we can gather out on the recruiting circuit.

But, for now, it's a time to think of how these recruits will help re-energize one of the country's winniest college basketball proudest traditions. This past recruiting season, Roberts and his staff have given St. John's basketball fans hope.

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