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IMG Academy forward Christian Jones commits to Steve Lavin, St. John’s

Image (1) spt-100511-steve-lavin.standard.jpg for post 216

Steve Lavin’s recruiting class grew in June with the addition of Top 100 forward Chris Obekpa, and he added more frontcourt depth Saturday.

Christian Jones, a 2012 forward from IMG Academy (Fla.), has committed to the Red Storm, bringing the total number of prospects to eight, Lenn Robbins of the New York Post is reporting.

Jones joins JaKarr Sampson, Orlando Sanchez, and Obekpa in the frontcourt, along with Felix Balamou, Marco Bourgault, and Darrick Wood.

Texas A&M transfer Jamal Branch is also a member of the 2012 haul, eligible to play in December and likely to get significant minutes in the rotation once he does.

Jones chose St. John’s over Oklahoma State and Auburn, likely because of the strong connections he has to the program. St. John’s guard Phil Greene is friendly with Jones from their time at IMG Academy and fellow Texas natives Branch and sophomore guard D’Angelo Harrison are familiar with him from the basketball scene in the Lone Star State.

Lavin’s 2012 class is his second straight big recruiting class, following a 2011 class that included eight players, though center Norvel Pelle reclassified and decommitted.

Included in that 2011 class was Maurice Harkless, who had a strong freshman season with the Red Storm and went on to be selected 15th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in Thursday’s NBA draft.

Jones will give the Red Storm another athletic forward in the frontcourt, something Lavin has looked to gameplan around since being hired by St. John’s in May of 2010.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_