It looks like the attempt by St. John’s to keep the top New York City players at home for college is working – Omari Lawrence is headed to Queens.
“I chose St. John’s because it’s close to home,” Lawrence said Wednesday afternoon after a brief meeting with head coach Norm Roberts to announce his commitment. “It’s a great environment for me and my family. And I like Norm, he’s a good coach.”
Lawrence had planned to make a visit to Louisville soon, and said he was going to announce his college decision after checking out the campus. However, his brother made a couple of phone calls and told Lawrence that he did not want him visiting Louisville.
“We cancelled the trip to Louisville and I just wanted to get [my college decision] over with,” Lawrence said.
The 6-foot-4 Lawrence, who hails from Bronx, N.Y., cannot officially sign a letter-of-intent until November. He will play for South Kent Prep (Conn.) next season after leaving St. Raymond’s (N.Y.) following an altercation between teammate and close friend Kevin Parrom and head coach Oliver Antigua. Parrom will also play for South Kent next season.
Lawrence projects himself as a combo guard with the ability to play multiple perimeter positions.
“I think I’m going to do well,” Lawrence said. “I’m a hard-worker. I just want to do the best I can to help us win ball games.”
St. John’s has been in the news recently as a result of two new assistant coach hires – Kimani Young, who was the director of the New Heights AAU program, and Oswald Cross, who coached Lawrence with the New York Panthers. However, Lawrence said that the addition of Cross and Young did not have an affect on his recruitment.
“Not at all,” said Lawrence, who is close friends with Justin Burrell, currently a junior on the Red Storm. “Before they went to St. John’s, I had interest there. I’ve been visiting the campus since my sophomore year.”
Lawrence has not played in several weeks after he underwent surgery in July to repair a torn ligament in his shoulder. However, he is rehabbing three times per week and expects to return in early October.
With his recruitment and college decision out of the way, Lawrence is looking forward to enjoying his final year of high school.
“It definitely eases the pressure,” he said. “I can now focus on school and basketball. I want to win the National Prep Championship.”
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