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St. John's basketball: Red Storm still sorting out classifications and redshirts

Head coach Steve Lavin and the Red Storm are still figuring details about the roster.

Chris Chambers

A little more than a week away from its regular season opener the St. John's Red Storm men's basketball program is still trying to sort out certain aspects of its young but talented roster.

According to SNY.TV's Adam Zagoria, head coach Steve Lavin and the Johnnies are still awaiting eligibility rulings from the NCAA regarding classification of forwards Orlando Sanchez and Marc Antoine-Bourgault, and are still debating whether or not to redshirt senior forward God'sgift Achiuwa and freshman Felix Balamou.

All four players did not play in St. John's 73-55 exhibition victory over Sonoma State on Saturday.

"There's two separate issues," Lavin said. "With Orlando it's related to eligibility. It's age and eligibility are the two things that are being evaluated."

"With Marco, it's about being reinstated. More paperwork and things have to be reevaluated. It's like the waiver appeal process that we go through. We're just waiting to find out what the determination will be."

Both Sanchez and Bourgault attended Monroe (N.Y.) College, but Lavin said their school was not a factor in the eligibility issue.

"Totally unrelated, two completely different situations," he said.

Meanwhile, Lavin is considering doing something many college basketball head coaches don't have the luxury to do -- redshirt a returning player, Achiuwa, who averaged 9.4 points and 5.8 rebounds last season.

According to Zagoria, if Sanchez is cleared to play he would more than likely join a young but very talented frontcourt of freshmen, including forward JaKarr Sampson, center Chris Obekpa and forward Christian Jones.

That core would limit Achiwua's minutes, and his experience could serve better next season when a slot is expected to open due to a player possibly leaving early for the NBA.

Asked how Achiuwa took the news, Lavin said, "Through the conversation it became very appealing to redshirt. Sitting down with his family he saw the value if he is to redshirt."

St. John's concludes its preseason play Tuesday when Concordia visits Carnessecca Arena (7:30 p.m. on ESPN3). The Johnnies open up the regular season next Tuesday, Nov. 13, against the visiting Detroit Titans (2 p.m. on ESPN).