Despite spending a postgraduate season at Bridgeton Academy (ME), 6-foot-4 guard Darrick Wood has not qualified at St. John’s.
Instead, Wood will head to Palm Beach College (FL), a JUCO program where he will likely play two seasons.
While the Red Storm lose Wood, head coach Steve Lavin is still welcoming in seven newcomers for the 2012-13 season. Highlighting the class is New York-native Christopher Obekpa, but the biggest key to the class could be the reemergence of Jakarr Sampson.
Sampson was committed to St. John’s a season ago, but was one of three incoming freshmen that were ruled ineligible. Sampson returned to Brewster Academy (NH) last season as a postgrad, qualify and re-committing to the Johnnies; a big keep for Lavin.
The comparison to Wood and Sampson however, is the simple that Wood has already taken his postgrad year, a situation that ultimately forces the guard to head to the JUCO level.
Prior to his lone season at Bridgeton Academy, Wood attended Newark NIA Prep (NJ).
While Wood should now turn his focus to Palm Beach and his immediate future, the connection between him and St. John’s is said to still be strong, leaving open the possibility that Wood could remain a Red Storm target down the line.
While some players can get lost at the JUCO level, others can resurrect themselves. In fact, St. John’s starting forward God’s Gift Achiuwa is a prime example. Nurideen Lindsey, who made the decision to transfer from St. John’s to Rider midway through the season last year, was also of the JUCO variety.
While the Johnnies lost Maurice Harkless to the NBA Draft, the Red Storm do bring back a good group of talent. Like last season, St. John’s however, will once again have to rely on their newcomers.
In addition to Obekpa and Sampson, St. John’s is also welcoming in a pair of JUCO transfers this season in Marco Bourgault and Orlando Sanchez. Felix Balamou, who was a high school teammate of Obekpa, Jamal Branch, a transfer from Texas A&M, and Christian Jones, who was a late addition to the class, round out of the remainder of the class.
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