It's official -- Garrett eligible for St. John's

St. John's recruit Amir Garrett has been academically cleared by the NCAA, and should be in uniform when the Red Storm host Texas-Pan American on Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena.

"We are pleased to welcome Amir to our Johnnies basketball family," said head coach Steve Lavin in a statement released by the school. "We appreciate his unwavering commitment to the program we are building here at St. John's. Amir is a person of strong character and an outstanding basketball player. His length, explosiveness, quickness and highly-skilled game make him an ideal fit for our system of play.

"Amir was the most tenacious competitor that we evaluated in the 2011 recruiting class and his fierce will to win is going to be a critical asset as our team prepares for the Big East conference schedule."

"The fans have been supportive, they’ve been telling me to keep my head up," said Garrett. "That’s what kept me going, kept me motivated. Coach Lavin and the whole coaching staff has been supportive, they told me to keep my head up, not to give up, and I just kept the faith since day one. I just kept going forward to reach my goal to get [to St. John’s] and now I'm here so that's all that matters."

Garrett was one of three St. John's recruits ruled academically ineligible for the first semester back in September. The other two, JaKarr Sampson and Norvel Pelle, have re-opened their recruitment.

A 6-foot-6 forward from Los Angeles, Garrett was ranked the No. 99 high school senior in the country last year by ESPNU. He spent the fall semester at Bridgton Academy in Maine, working on his grades.

Garrett is also a talented pitcher, who was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 22nd round of this year's Major League Baseball draft and received a $1 million signing bonus. He still plans to pitch in the Reds' minor league system this coming summer.

This is a big addition for St. John's, which was down to six recruited scholarship players after starting point guard Nurideen Lindsey decided to leave the program and transfer earlier this month.