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St. John’s boosts roster with big, strong forwards

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Steve Lavin promised a landmark basketball recruiting class and he’s come through so far.

St. John’s received signed National Letters of Intent from coveted forwards JaKarr Sampson of Brewster Academy, a previous commit, and Monroe Community College’s Orlando Sanchez Friday.

“I discussed it with my family and friends and we decided that this was the best opportunity,” Sanchez said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to staying in New York and helping the Red Storm become champions. I’ll also be able to continue playing alongside my good friend and teammate Marco Bourgault and am looking very forward to playing some games at Madison Square Garden.”

A versatile 6-foot-9 forward, Sanchez was named to the All-Tournament team at the NJCAA Nationals. Monroe finished fifth in the tournament as he averaged 10.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He chose the Red Storm over Auburn and Providence. The 6-foot-8 Sampson committed to the Johnnies last year, but was declared ineligible and returned to Brewster, where he thrived yet again. The seventh-ranked power forward by scout.com in his class, Sampson picked the Red Storm over Kansas, Florida and Providence.

This year’s class, which also includes Our Savior New American guard Felix Balamou, Texas A&M transfer Jamal Branch and the sharpshooting Bourgault, Sanchez’s Monroe teammate, could add a few more members this weekend.

According to sources, St. John’s has forwards Philip Nolan of Riverside High School (Wis.), San Francisco transfer Justin Raffington and guard Darrick Wood, a recent commit like Sampson at Bridgton Academy, all on campus.

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