ESPNU 100 shooting guard D'Angelo Harrison (Missouri, Texas/John Foster Dulles) has ended his recruitment by committing to St. John's over Marquette, Oklahoma State and Baylor. The No. 44-ranked player in the 2011 class is an explosive, competitive scorer with tremendous range and is a great pickup for the Red Storm and coach Steve Lavin.
"Coach Lavin is a very straight-up guy, and he had a plan for how I would fit. Plus, he told me what I needed to hear and not what I wanted to hear," Harrison said. "Coach Lavin was very successful at UCLA and has coached many players who [went on to play in the NBA]. His staff was also a big part of my decision with all of their NBA experience."
Harrison's stock has been on the rise since his breakout performance at this year's Real Deal in the Rock, where he dropped 46 points against the Dallas Mustangs in finals. The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder is known for his ability to knock down deep perimeter jumpers but is also relentless driving the ball to the rim or setting up for midrange shots. He has an uncanny ability to drive past defenders with a quick step and draw contact on the way to the basket. This type of scoring prowess allows him to get to the free throw line for double-figure attempts, where he cashes in at a high percentage.
Harrison is also extremely difficult to guard coming off ball screens, where he forces the defense to pick its poison because he is effective in all facets of using the screen. Harrison's ability to turn the corner for baskets, pull up for jumpers from midrange or fire from behind the screen based on how defenders decide to play him puts the defense in a very vulnerable position. However, an area of growth that needs to be addressed is his unwillingness to guard in all aspects of perimeter defense, whether it be staying front of quick point guards or chasing shooting guards off screens.
When you combine the tremendous exodus of seniors from SJU and Harrison's dynamic scoring talents, there is no question he projects to be a double-figure scorer early in his career. During games there will be many possessions on which the offense has nothing going until Harrison makes a shot or puts up points quickly because he has the talent to carry St. John's to a win. With development -- which is always a big part of the equation -- he could become one of the better scoring guards in the Big East.
"After speaking with Coach Lavin and the staff, I feel it is a place where we will play a fast tempo yet be well coached," Harrison said.
Harrison joins two other ESPNU 100 prospects -- Jakarr Sampson (Akron, Ohio/Brewster Academy) and Maurice Harkless (Queens, N.Y./South Kent) -- in this year's St. John's class, which vaults the Red Storm to No. 9 in the class rankings. By landing these three impact players, Lavin proves once again he can recruit on a national scale.
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.