The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Norm locks up local talent

Norm Roberts has been criticized for his ability to secure New York City recruits, but the events of National Signing Day may help to hush some of the fifth-year coach’s critics.

Last Thursday, two Bronx natives – Omari Lawrence and Dwight Hardy – inked their letters of intent to attend the University and play their college ball under Roberts.

“They’ll both help elevate our program right away,” Roberts said. “They each can do different things well-shooting, dribbling, passing. They’ll being creativity to our already solid founation and give us depth at the wings.”

The bigger name of the two is Lawrence. The 22nd-ranked small forward in the country, is currently prepping at South Kent (Conn.) but rose to prominence during his time at the Bronx’s St. Raymond’s.

Lawrence, who’s verbal commitment to St. John’s came way back in August, held a press conference at halfcourt of the indoor gym at the Jerome Hill Park in the Bronx and cited a good first impression from Roberts during his campus visit and a friendship with current Johnny Justin Burrell among the reason for his decision.

“He’s a good guy,” Lawrence said of Roberts. “I see how he takes care of his players on and off the court.”

Although Lawrence made visits to Connecticut, Marquette, Seton Hall, Georgetown and NC State, he said none of those schools were ever really serious considerations.

“I didn’t have a list,” he said. “I decided on St. John’s because that’s where I want to go.”

Lawrence’s older brother and advisor, Abebe, said that the choice was one that Lawrence had made since early in his high school career.

“It’s hard to tell people I want to go to St. John’s in your freshman and sophomore year because people will say, ‘No. You shouldn’t do that,” he said.

Lawrence also admitted to cancelling a trip to Louisville, his last scheduled campus visit.

Hardy played his high school hoops at JFK and is currently at Indian Hills JC.

The Red Storm still have a single scholarship to give out for the 2009-10 roster.

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