Amir Garrett

Former top 100 recruit finding success … as a pitcher?

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Earlier this month, Amir Garrett, a former top 100 recruit that played for St. John’s and transferred to Cal-St. Northridge, made the decision to give up basketball for good.

The 6-foot-5 left-hander is instead focusing on a baseball career that saw him get drafted by the Cincinnati Reds and given a $1 million contract.

And based on the way he has been playing of late, it appears to be the right decision. Garrett recently topped the list of Baseball America’s prospect hot sheet, as he is now playing the best baseball of his career. He’s 22 years old and he’s still playing for Cincinnati’s low-A ball team, the Dayton Dragons, but mowing down hitters as a left-handed pitcher for a team that has already invested seven figures in his future is probably a better decision than chasing NBA dreams as a basketball player in the Big West.

Here’s what Baseball America had to say about him:

Garrett hasn’t given up a run in his past three starts, and he has 76 strikeouts to 19 walks since June 1. With a 92-95 mph fastball and a slider that has developed into an average pitch that flashes plus according to scouts (albeit more as a chase pitch than one he can throw for strikes so far), Garrett appears to have the makings of being at least a power lefty reliever with the athleticism to be much more.

To read more about Garrett’s path to becoming a baseball star, click here.

Cal-State Northridge loses possible impact transfer to pro baseball

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When he made the decision to play basketball at St. John’s in 2011, 6-foot-8 wing Amir Garrett was also on the receiving end of attention from professional baseball scouts. As a left-handed pitcher, Garrett was picked up by the Cincinnati Reds in the 22nd round of the 2011 MLB Draft and given a $1 million signing bonus by the organization. While playing basketball during the school year, Garrett honed his craft on the diamond during the summer and he’s developed into one of the top pitching prospects in the Reds organization.

Following the 2012-13 basketball season Garrett decided to leave St. John’s, landing at Cal-State Northridge where he was expected to be an impact addition for Reggie Theus this season. But things have changed for Garrett, as he announced via his Twitter account Thursday that he’s decided to give up basketball in order to concentrate on baseball.

Pitching for Class A Dayton this season, Garrett’s put together a record of six wins and six losses with an ERA of 3.41. Now that he’s decided to focus entirely on baseball, it will be interesting to see what Garrett is able to do with his pitching career. The athleticism is definitely there, but splitting time between the two sports likely limited Garrett’s ability to refine his tools from a pitching standpoint.

This is a tough personnel loss for the Matadors, but they do return leading scorers Stephan Hicks (17.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Stephen Maxwell (17.5, 8.8) from last year’s team. CSUN also adds an eight-member freshman class to the fold, including an All-CIF selection in Ajon Efferson who averaged nearly 28 points per game as a senior at Pasadena (California) HS.

h/t Rumble in the Garden, Yahoo Sports

Sophomore Amir Garrett will transfer from St. John’s

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Sophomore swingman Amir Garrett will leave the St. John’s program and transfer to another institution, he announced via a series of messages on his Twitter page Tuesday night.

Garrett, who came to St. John’s in the second semester of his freshman season after running to eligibility issues with the NCAA at the beginning of the 2011-12 season, saw decreased minutes during his sophomore year. He averaged 5.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in just over 20 minutes per game for a team that finished 17-16 on the year, including 8-10 in the Big East.

Garrett is a native of Los Angeles, Calif., and was part of Steve Lavin’s first full recruiting class that came to Queens. That class included nine players: Moe Harkless, Sir’Dominic Pointer, D’Angelo Harrison, Norvel Pelle, JaKarr Sampson, Phil Greene, Nurideen Lindsey, God’sgift Achiuwa, and Garrett.

Of those nine, Pelle never played college ball because of academic issues and has now entered his name into the 2013 NBA draft, Lindsey transferred to Rider and was eligible to play immediately this past season, and Harrison was suspended for the end of the regular season and entire postseason for conduct detrimental to the team.

Garrett has opportunities outside of basketball, though. He is currently signed to play minor league baseball in the Cincinnati Reds farm system, but says that he will continue his basketball career at another school.

This now frees up a scholarship for St. John’s in 2013 and Steve Lavin is actively recruiting point guard Rysheed Jordan, a Philadelphia native.

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

St. John’s Amir Garrett continues baseball journey, is called up to Cincinnati Reds Rookie League team

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Amir Garrett is getting the best of two worlds right now.

At St. John’s, he is part of a solid young team that could catch some by surprise in the Big East in 2012-13. During the off-season, he’s pitching in the Cincinnati Reds farm system after being drafted in the 22nd round of the 2012 MLB Draft.

On Tuesday news came from Red Storm head coach Steve Lavin that Garrett was to be called up from the Arizona League Reds to the Billings Mustangs, the Reds’ Rookie League affiliate.

While with the Arizona League Reds, Garrett appeared in seven games, throwing 14 innings and striking out 13 batters, with an ERA of 5.79.

For Garrett, much of the talk about his baseball career hinges on potential: a 6-6 lefty whose fastball was clocked at 96 MPH on the radar gun during a pre-draft workout.

And though it’s not unusual for college athletes to take a shot at pro baseball while still playing another sport in college—see: football players Drew Henson, Ricky Williams—it’s less common for basketball players to have both going for them.

Garrett came to St. John’s in the middle of the 2011-12 season after being ruled ineligible for the first semester. After gaining eligibility, he averaged 7.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game for a team that finished 13-19, including 6-12 in the Big East.

“Baseball’s always going to be there for me,” Garrett told the New York Times this spring. “I don’t know, something about it; when I start playing baseball, I get into it really quick. I get back into the motions. I always snap back into baseball mode once I step on the diamond.”

For this upcoming season, the Red Storm will be without one of their stars from last season, forward Moe Harkless, who left for the NBA Draft and was selected 15th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Lavin welcomes another large recruiting class to Queens, led by forwards JaKarr Sampson and Chris Obekpa.

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

Two-sport athlete Amir Garrett balances basketball and baseball at St. John’s

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After being drafted in the 22nd round of this past year’s Major League baseball draft, Amir Garrett had a decision to make: baseball or basketball?

The 6-6, 208-pound forward gained eligibility for the second semester to play for St. John’s in the 2011-12 season, averaging 7.4 points and four rebounds in his freshman season.

But now he will be headed to the baseball diamond to begin his career in the Cincinnati Reds’ farm system.

Garrett hadn’t pitched in a live game in over a year when he pitched in front of major league scouts last spring, but was clocked throwing a 95-mile-hour fastball.

Not bad at all.

As a New York Times article by Zach Schonbrun points out, the most time he has gotten on a diamond recently has been with an intramural softball team at St. John’s.

“Everybody asks me which sport I like more,” Garrett told the New York Times. “I can’t really pick between the two right now. They’re both the same. I love them both.”

We have seen other two-sport athletes before, though baseball/basketball combinations have been more rare.Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan famously tried a career in baseball in the 1990s, before returning to the court.

Read the entire New York Times profile on Garrett here.

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