God's Gift Achiuwa signs with St. John's

St. John's coach Steve Lavin doesn't call God's Gift Achiuwa, his newly signed junior college transfer, God. He calls him Gift, which is exactly what he is to the Red Storm's recruiting class.

ESPNU had ranked St. John's as having the third-best class in the nation, and that was before Achiuwa made his commitment. Adding the 6-foot-9 JC All-American from Nigeria and an instant member of college basketball's all-name team certainly makes the class even better.

"Gift is a talented frontline player who possesses tremendous size, strength, speed and skill," Lavin said in a statement. "He is an ideal fit for our baseline-to-baseline attacking style of play. The maturity Gift gained from two years of junior college basketball with a combined 55-6 record will make him a nice complement to what will be the youngest team in the country next season."

Lavin has signed a class of nine players to replace a senior-laden team that made a surprising run to the NCAA tournament this past season.

Achiuwa played at Erie Community College and chose to stay in New York rather than head to Washington or Cincinnati. The son of a minister, Achiuwa was impressed by Lavin and the rest of the coaching staff.

"They came into the St. John's program and turned things around in less than a year," Achiuwa said in a statement. "I think that's a good indication that the program is on its way back. I like the city and have been to New York a number of times; it is a great place to play and live. Madison Square Garden is the biggest stage in the world and it is a great opportunity to have The Garden as my home court."