Justin Burrell had one thing on his mind his first time playing at Madison Square Garden.
“All the time running up and down the court, I kept thinking, ‘This is my home now,'” said Burrell, the standout from Our Savior Lutheran in the Bronx who has verbally committed to St. John’s for 2007. “I love it.”
The 6-foot-8 power forward showed it too. He scored 20 points and pulled down five rebounds for the city team in its 145-131 loss to the suburban team in the regional game of the Jordan All-American Classic Saturday.
His teammate, Red Storm 2006 signee Rob Thomas, sat out the game with a high left ankle sprain, but he was just happy to be there.
“To me it was like a rush just to set foot on the floor,” the 6-foot-6 South Kent Prep star said.
Burrell, a top-notch athlete who’s smooth around the basket, was honored just to be selected to a game that has Michael Jordan’s name on it.
“It’s the cr√É®me de la cr√É®me over here,” he said. “Nothing else but that.”
Both players showed excitement for their future with St. John’s, especially with next year’s recruiting class rated No. 5 in the country by online scouting Web Site HoopScoop.com.
But what has impressed them the most about the Red Storm has been Norm Roberts and the rest of the coaching staff and how they’ve changed the perception of the St. John’s men’s basketball program.
“They really care about their kids that they’re bringing in and they already had over there,” said Thomas, an explosive offensive talent who can play both forward positions. “-Norm Roberts came in and changed the whole program, brought in good kids.”
Added Burrell: “They’re all around good people.”