St. John’s redshirt sophomore Marcus LoVett, who ranks second on the team in scoring average but has not played since November because of a knee injury, said he is leaving school to rehab the knee at his California home in hopes of pursuing a professional career.
“Right now I feel it is best for me to return home, get healthy and explore all options for my basketball future,” LoVett said via a St. John’s news release. “It has always been a goal of mine to play professional basketball, so I am committed to working hard to position myself for the best available opportunity. I enjoyed my experience at St. John’s and appreciate all the support from Red Storm fans.”
LoVett — who asked for and received permission from coach Chris Mullin to wear Mullin’s retired No. 20 this season — last played in the Nov. 26 win against Central Florida. His rehab from a knee injury took longer than St. John’s officials expected, and in the second week of January, his father announced via social media that his son would not play again this season.
In the days after he was injured, LoVett often was on the St. John’s bench for games, but during the last six weeks, that sight was more infrequent. He sat in the stands for the Red Storm’s loss to then-No. 1 Villanova on Jan. 13 at Madison Square Garden and was on the court with the team for pregame introductions before the Feb. 10 win over Marquette.
LoVett averaged 14.9 points this season. As a freshman, he averaged 15.9 points and a team-high 3.8 assists. Though he was not highly scouted by NBA teams that season and did not appear on mock NBA Draft boards for national websites that track that sort of thing, when he was asked after the final game if he would return to St. John’s or go pro, he gave a noncommittal answer.
“We wish Marcus the best of luck,” Mullin said in the release. “I know this wasn’t an easy decision for him, but we respect and understand it. He’s a good basketball player and a good person with a bright future.”
Top recruit Brooks opts out. J’Raan Brooks, a Seattle-area power forward who was the Red Storm’s top frontcourt recruit for next season, has decided to reopen his recruitment. Before his surprise commitment to St. John’s, Brooks initially committed to Southern Cal over Virginia, Oklahoma, Stanford and Cal. He opted out of that after the Trojans’ program was included in the FBI’s investigation of corruption in men’s basketball and assistant Tony Bland was arrested.
The Red Storm still will add Quinnipiac transfer Mickey Dixon and South Carolina transfer Sedee Keita — both are sitting out to fulfill NCAA transfer rules — along with guard Greg Williams and forward Josh Roberts. The Storm could give up to two more scholarships before next season.