Having lost Keith Thomas last month, the potential loss of freshman center Adonis De La Rosa was another hit for a St. John’s team that’s already lacking front court depth. With the NCAA ruling that De La Rosa was a non-qualifier, the possibility of the Christ the King product taking the floor for Steve Lavin at any point this season did not look good at all.
However things have changed, as a trip to his old high school has resulted in the NCAA declaring De La Rosa eligible to compete. It should be noted that the NCAA is still reviewing the situation, so things could change at any point in time. According to Zach Braziller of the New York Post, De La Rosa was able to get confirmation from Christ the King that he took the SAT in June.
De La Rosa’s SAT score was flagged due to a “third party” raising suspicions about the validity of the score, per the New York Post. So this all means that De La Rosa will be on the court when the Red Storm open their season Friday night against NJIT, right? Not exactly, according to Braziller’s report.
He will practice and can play in games, but Johnnies coach Steve Lavin is expected to keep De La Rosa out of action until his situation with the NCAA is completely resolved, according to one of the sources. He is expected to be on the bench with his teammates for Friday night’s opener against NJIT at Carnesecca Arena.
With or without De La Rosa there are going to be times when the Red Storm play a smaller lineup, either with Sir’Dominic Pointer seeing time as an undersized power forward of the team going to a five-guard lineup as they did at times in their final exhibition game last week.
But there’s a need for another body in the post, to both give starter Chris Obekpa some time to rest and to ensure that the team is covered should Obekpa land in foul trouble or suffer an injury. The hope in Queens is that the final ruling works in De La Rosa’s favor, thus giving them a talented big man who can help in the quest to reach the NCAA tournament.