Amir Garrett announced early this morning that he is transferring out of St. John's and, according to people close to the sophomore swingman, will pursue a professional baseball career.
Garrett — who came to the Red Storm in the second semester of his freshman season after having eligibility problems with the NCAA — was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds out of Findley Prep in Las Vegas. The lefthanded pitcher with a 96 mph fastball received a $1 million bonus before finally reaching a deal with the club that allowed him to play basketball.
The gifted Los Angeles athlete was part of Steve Lavin's first full recruiting class that came to the Queens university. But it was always a long shot that Garrett would stick with basketball — not when the lure of major league baseball was calling.
After a long thought out process of speaking with my family, I will be leaving St. John's basketball program!
— amir garrett (@Amir_Garrett) April 3, 2013
“After a long thought out process of speaking with my family, I will be leaving St. John's basketball program!” Garrett said on Twitter. He added in subsequent dispatches “It was a well thought out decision that didn't just pop up out of nowhere. St. John's will always have a special place in my heart” and “As of now I'm playing baseball, but I plan on being at another program in the fall.”
Garrett saw decreased minutes during his sophomore year and averaged 5.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in just 20 minutes per game as an under-sized forward for the 17-16 team.
His departure will open up a much-needed scholarship for Lavin's Red Storm. The Johnnies are in contention for top point guard prospect Rysheed Jordan from Philadelphia's Roberts Vaux High. Jordan also is considering UCLA and Temple.