Jakarr Sampson chooses St. John's

NEW YORK -- St. John's head coach Steve Lavin has scored a major coup, convincing star recruit Jakarr Sampson to play for the Red Storm beginning next season.

Sampson's coach at Brewster (NH) Academy, Jason Smith, confirmed the news via Twitter late Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward from Akron, Ohio, originally committed to St. John's in the fall of 2010, as one of the jewels of Lavin's first full recruiting class at the school. But Sampson, along with two other top-100 recruits in that class, failed to qualify academically this past fall. Sampson returned to Brewster Academy for another season, and led Brewster to a prep national championship.

Sampson, ranked the No. 32 high school player in the country in 2011 by ESPNU, was also being wooed by the likes of Kansas and Florida. But instead, he is coming to the Big Apple.

St. John's just ended a tumultuous season with a record of 13-19, but the addition of Sampson bodes well for the future. His addition becomes even more important if St. John's star forward Moe Harkless elects to leave school and enter the NBA draft, which he is seriously considering.