The odds that LJ Figueroa suits up for a third season at St. John’s seem to be growing longer.
The 6-6 redshirt senior, who earlier this spring applied to be in the NBA Draft, has now also placed his name into the NCAA’s transfer portal and could be looking to change schools. Given the time of year and the amount of men’s basketball transfer activity already, Figueroa — the Red Storm’s top returning scorer after averaging 14.5 points — is one of the bigger talents that’s available and shopping for a new school.
A Figueroa departure would leave St. John’s, which was 17-15 last season, with deficits on both ends of the court. He made 37% of his three-point attempts, which is best among returning players, and averaged a Big East-leading 1.9 steals in coach Mike Anderson’s full-court pressure defense.
Figueroa, a junior college transfer from Odessa College, will not be immediately eligible if he transfers schools. He would be required to sit out one year per NCAA rules, unless it grants him a waiver to play immediately, which he has a very strong chance of receiving.
College athletes in football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and hockey are the only ones who must sit out one year after transferring. The NCAA recently debated immediate installation of a rule that would allow student-athletes in those sports to play immediately this year. It decided not to make changes effective this year, but to draft entirely new rules to be effective for the 2021-22 school year.
The acknowledgment that the NCAA needs to change its rules augurs well for those seeking waivers to play in 2020-21. That Figueroa wishes to transfer from a school in the center of the COVID-19 pandemic makes him a strong candidate regardless.