Saturday, March 2, 2013
Will Sanchez play for SJU?
By Matt Giles
UPDATE: The NCAA granted St. John's junior Orlando Sanchez a waiver and the forward will be eligible to play for the Red Storm next season. As detailed by Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com last week, this move will leave Steve Lavin out of scholarships if no St. John's players declare for the NBA draft. It's an interesting problem to have but it seems Sanchez is worth it. St. John's defense wasn't a huge problem this year but its offense was one of the worst in the Big East. Sanchez will absolutely be an upgrade on the inside and will free up other weapons on the offensive end. With Red Storm players a year older and a new interior presence, it's conceivable St. John's could be highly competitive in the new Big East next year.
When Orlando Sanchez committed to St. John's, picking the Red Storm over Providence, his addition would supposedly greatly bolster the Johnnies' frontcourt. Sanchez was one of the nation's premier junior college bigs, and on a team that truly lacked any interior depth, the thought was that Sanchez would have a noteworthy final season.
However, the NCAA ruled in January that Sanchez was ineligible, and now there are reports SJU is petitioning for Sanchez to be eligible for 2013-14. The New York Times revealed that Sanchez played a handful of minutes for the Dominican National team, thus costing the big his final season of playing time. Although Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com reported the NCAA then considered the case "closed and ... final," there is a hope among Steve Lavin and his staff that the forward can play his final season a year from now.
However, Zagoria makes a prescient point: if Sanchez is allowed to play and no current Johnnies turn to the professional ranks, SJU is out of scholarships for 2013-14. To complicate the matter, SJU is still very much invested on the recruiting trail, eagerly pursuing Rysheed Jordan for the 2013 class. There have been whispers that perhaps D'Angelo Harrison or JaKarr Sampson might declare for the draft, so we will keep an eye out for any news on the status of either player.