St. John’s basketball: Brandon Gardner requests release from NLI

St. John's basketball former recruit Brandon GardnerCtk V Calvary 00286
St. John's basketball former recruit Brandon GardnerCtk V Calvary 00286 /

St. John’s basketball recruit Brandon Gardener has requested his release from his NLI. 

Friday evening spelled more bad roster news for the St. John’s basketball program as four-star commit Brandon Gardner requested his release from his National Letter of Intent.

The news comes as a surprise after it was reported on Thursday by the New York Post that Gardner was on campus for a visit, which went “well”, and head coach Rick Pitino made it clear that he wanted to retain Gardner.

Pitino has now reportedly invited three players — Posh Alexander, AJ Storr, and Gardner — to remain with the team but each declined as the former two entered the transfer portal.

Joel Soriano, Drissa Traore, and Mohamed Keita will be the only three players to remain on the roster from last year’s team.

“I would like to thank St. John’s University, Coach [Mike] Anderson for recruiting me, the amazing fan base and the entire coaching staff for all the love, respect, and belief you have all showed my family and I during the recruitment process,” Gardner said in a social media statement.

“I want to share that I’ve recently requested my release from St. John’s to reopen my recruitment process to all schools, including St. John’s.”

Brandon Gardner was ranked as the No. 78 player in the Class of 2023, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, and the second ranked player in the state of New York.

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Gardner previously attended Word of God Christian Academy (NC) before transferring to local powerhouse Christ the King (NY) to get accustomed with the area before embarking on his college career.

A handful of schools in the SEC are expected to pursue the 6-foot-7 forward.

St. John’s basketball roster with many holes to fill

St. John’s has now lost all three of its commits since the firing of Mike Anderson, unranked shooting guard Harrison Reede, junior college All-American Yaxel Lendeborg, and Brandon Gardner.

Posh Alexander, AJ Storr, David Jones, Kolby King, Andre Curbelo, Dylan Addae-Wusu, O’Mar Stanley, and Rafael Pinzon also entered the transfer portal.

ALSO READ: Rafael Pinzon commits to Bryant

“I look forward to embarking on this journey once more, and will make the best decision for my future and the game I love so much,” Gardner concluded.

St. John’s has not landed a commitment, via the transfer portal or high school prospect, since hiring Rick Pitino but are hosting Iona guards Walter Clayton Jr. and Daniss Jenkins this weekend.

The Red Storm also remain in contact with several players around the country as Pitino has a lot of work to do to remake his roster.

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