Thanks to Steve Lavin, St. John’s could very quickly became a national player on the basketball scene once again. Lavin’s 2011 recruiting class is already projected to be one of the top five in the country and one of those pieces could be a major part of the Red Storm’s success for years to come: Price High School’s Norvel Pelle.
According to Rivals, Pelle is a five-star recruit, the No. 2 center in the country and the 19th-best recruit in the country. He’s listed between 6-9 and 6-10 and roughly 210 pounds. There’s no questions Pelle is a big boy and not easy to move in the paint.
He currently stars at Los Angeles’ Price High School, which Lavin knows well from his time as UCLA’s head coach from 1996-2003.
Pelle’s best attribute according to recruiting services is his athleticism, particularly his length. Pelle’s long arms allows him to be an explosive shot blocker as well as a strong finisher around the rim. His long arms also allow him to be a terror on the offensive boards because he can so easily reach out for put backs or slam dunks before any defensive player can touch the ball.
His biggest problem is his apparent lack of fundamentals, which isn’t surprising for a player as explosive as Pelle. When you’re so far and above most of your peers athletically, there’s no reason to have sound fundamentals. ESPN.com also pointed out a more concerning weakness:
“His lack of fundamental development and lackadaisical approach to the game has hindered his development. … His energy level and overall approach to the game is concerning as he brings a different level of effort to each and every game.”
But perhaps the change in scenery and the chance to play under Steve Lavin will change his approach to the game. It was pretty clear soon after he made his announcement that Pelle was very happy.
During an interview with Newsday after he committed in November, Pelle said, “I’m flying like a bird,” he said. “I’m flying through the air like Michael Jordan right now.”
Between now and next season, Pelle needs to work on bulking up (he’s just 180 pounds) and getting eligible to play in college, something that’s been a big concern. But if he clears those hurdles, Pelle has all the talent in the world and next year won’t be his only time playing at Madison Square Garden.