- Paul Biancardi, Basketball Recruiting
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In the course of five days, coach Steve Lavin and St. John's has added two ESPNU 100 prospects and vaulted the program to No. 5 in the class rankings. The latest addition, SF Dom Pointer (Roseville, Mich./Quality Education Academy), committed Monday to the Red Storm over in-state Michigan and West Virginia.
"I liked the small classroom size and felt comfortable with the coaching staff and players," Pointer said. "I also like the fact that Coach Lavin has been so successful in the past [at UCLA]."
Pointer is the newest piece in Lavin's rebuilding effort and while most prospects would be turned away by a big class full of talented players, he embraces it. He even said the fact St. John's had 10 scholarships available intrigued him. The No. 53-ranked player in the 2011 class plays with tremendous confidence, energy and is arguably the best defender in the class. He takes pride in covering his opponent's best player and makes it difficult for him to even receive a pass by denying the ball or fronting in the low post.
"I take it personally," Pointer said of guarding the opponent's best player. "I need it. I want it. I gotta have it."
On top of being a tenacious defender, he is a tremendous rebounder -- in and out of his area -- as well as a force in transition. He will finish strong with an open lane to the basket, can beat people off the dribble and is improving his 3-point shot. Pointer is also an opportunistic scorer who capitalizes on offensive rebounds, put-backs and by getting to the free throw line.
"He is a special young man with very high motor," Quality Education Academy coach Isaac Pitts said. "He plays hard on every possession."
Pointer joins fellow ESPNU 100 prospects SF Jakarr Sampson (Akron, Ohio/Brewster Academy), SG D'Angelo Harrison (Missouri City, Texas/John Foster Dulles) and SF Maurice Harkless (Queens, N.Y./South Kent). All four are extremely versatile, dynamic players with great talent. Lavin will be able to mix and match on the floor to create mismatches and Pointer will be a focal point to the Red Storm's defense, which will be able to play man-to-man or zone, and to press and create a lot of offense from their defense. Pointer didn't want to just be part of history, he wanted to make history and he will have his chance for St. John's.
Paul Biancardi, who has been a head coach and assistant on NCAA tournament teams, is the national director of basketball recruiting. He is also one the voters for McDonald's All-American Game and Gatorade Player of the Year. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.