Red Storm make English big man third recruit for next season

Men’s basketball head coach Norm Roberts
announced early this month the signing of 7-foot-1 English center Phil Wait to a national letter of intent. Wait, who will join the Red Storm for the upcoming season, is the third edition to this year’s incoming class.

“Phil is a great kid with great size and unbelievable basketball I.Q.,” Roberts told “He will certainly add size to our program and the kind of skill level in the low post that can make an impact for us next season.”

Wait, who hails from Manchester, England, has played basketball all over the world.

This past season, Wait played at the prestigious Gran Canaria Basketball Academy in Spain. Before his time in Spain, he spent two years in prep school at Proctor Academy in New Hampshire.

Proctor is a part of the New Englad Preparatory School Athletic Council, which Wait’s new teammates Justin Burrell and Paris Horne previously played in. During his senior year at Proctor, Wait averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game.

“Phil is a big, long guy that is very mobile and athletic for his size, and by all accounts he added more strength during his year in Spain,”

Proctor Academy coach Gregor Makechnie told

“He is a delightful young man. I think people at St. John’s and fans of the program will enjoy getting to know Phil.”

After a disappointing season last year, when the Johnnies failed to qualify for the Big East Tournament, hopes are high for Wait’s impact.

St. John’s fans hope that Wait could be the missing presence down low that could make the Red Storm more competitive in the Big East.

The versatile big man, who is known for his shot blocking and his solid hands has the potential to be a force in the paint, alongside forwards senior Anthony Mason, Jr. and sophomore Justin Burrell.

St. John’s who has struggled over the past couple of years in their frontcourt has been lacking a presence in the middle.

Wait will have to compete against senior Tomas Jasiulionis and sophomores Dele Coker and Sean Evans for the starting center spot.

Wait, who received interest from UCLA, Arizona State, Kentucky and Nebraska, joins guards TyShwan Edmondson and Quincy Roberts in the 2008-09 freshmen class.