St. John’s is down another big man


For the second time in as many weeks, the St. John’s front court is without one of its newcomers.

Keith Thomas, a junior college transfer who averaged 15.7 boards per game at Westchester Community College, was ruled academically ineligible, the fallout of an alleged scandal involving the Westchester basketball program forging transcripts.

On Tuesday night, hours after a report from Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News, the St. John’s athletic department announced that freshman center Adonis De La Rosa was ruled a non-qualifier by the NCAA.

“The St. John’s athletic department was recently informed by the NCAA Eligibility Center of the change in certification status for Adonis De La Rosa after new information revealed the student-athlete does not meet eligibility requirements,” St. John’s Director of Athletics Chris Monasch said in a statement. “The University will continue to review the options available in this particular case.”

The 7-foot freshman center, who was listed as a three-star recruit by Rivals, did not play in the Red Storm’s first exhibition game, but did manage to score 10 points and corral five rebounds in 15 minutes against St. Thomas Aquinas College (New York) on Saturday afternoon.

St. John’s has arguably the top back court in the Big East led by D’Angelo Harrison, Rysheed Jordan and Phil Green IV. But its frontline is a serious concern heading into a season where the Red Storm expect to make a return trip to the NCAA tournament after being left out on Selection Sunday last March. Outside of junior shot blocker Chris Obepka, redshirt sophomore Christian Jones and freshman Amar Alibegovi are the only other Johnnies to play in the preseason who stand over 6-foot-7.

The Red Storm open the season on Friday against NJIT at Carnesecca Arena.