QUEENS, N.Y. (November 21, 2006) – St. John’s head men’s basketball coach Norm Roberts announced the signing of three talented recruits from the Class of 2007 to National Letters of Intent during this fall’s early signing period. Exceptional local standouts Malik Boothe and Justin Burrell join formidable prep big man Dele Coker to comprise a three-man incoming class for the Red Storm.
“We’re very excited about our recruiting class for next year,” said Roberts “The incoming young men will really increase our talent level and depth, and all three have a chance to make a huge impact on our program. We feel that we have addressed the needs we will have at the point guard spot, and also with interior depth.”
Malik Boothe • G
A pass-first point guard, Boothe is a true floor general and natural leader. At 5-9, 185 lbs., Boothe is lightning-quick on both ends of the floor and a hard-nosed defender. The adept passer and playmaker averaged 8.0 points per game and 4.2 assists last season at national top 10 powerhouse Christ the King High School in Queens. Longtime Christ the King coach Bob Oliva rates Boothe as the third-best defensive guard he has ever mentored, behind former UNC standout Derrick Phelps and former USC football star Will Poole.
“Malik gives us the total package as a point guard,” said Roberts. “He makes others around him better, sets his teammates up and regards ‘winning’ as the only important stat. He is one of the toughest players in New York City right now.”
Justin Burrell • F
A versatile, explosive frontcourt player rated among the top 20 power forward prospects in the nation, Burrell averaged 17.4 points, 14.3 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.8 assists last season at Our Savior Lutheran in the Bronx. The No. 2 prep player in the nation, he is now spending the year at prep power Bridgton Academy in Maine. A cerebral, powerful forward, Burrell led Lutheran to a 16-6 record last season and already has a 17-point, 13-rebound effort under his belt at Bridgton. His high school coach was Oswald Cross, and his prep school coach is Whit Lesure.
“Justin has an unbelievable ability to be a physical player and a skill player at the same time,” said Roberts. “He is a terrific finisher around the basket and also has developed range out to 15 feet. Justin really has a chance to make a great impact from Day 1 at St. John’s.”
Dele Coker • F/C
An imposing big man rated among the nation’s top 20 center prospects, Coker is in his second season at South Kent School in Conn. Last season the 6-10, 270-lb. post player averaged 7.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks, playing behind eight teammates that are now playing for NCAA Division I basketball programs. Coker is an intimidating shot-rejector on the defensive end, and can face up or play with his back to the basket on offense. Coker has already notched a 21-point, 13-rebound, six-block game this season at South Kent, where he is coached by Raphael Chillious.
“Dele will bring power and athletic ability to our front line,” said Roberts. “He can block shots and rebounds well out of his area. He brings with him the physical presence necessary to compete in the BIG EAST.”
– Red Storm –