By Joseph Staszewski
There was just no place like home for Adonis Delarosa.
The 6-foot-11 Christ the King center didn’t want to leave New York City to play college basketball, and he won’t have to. Delarosa announced during an April 9 news conference in his Middle Village school’s library that he will join St. John’s University next season.
Delarosa chose Coach Steve Lavin and the Red Storm over Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Miami and Alabama. He is the first New York City player to head to the Jamaica Estates school since former Forest Hills star Maurice Harkless in 2011.
“I’m just trying to leave New York basketball in New York,” Delarosa said. “There is no place like being at home.”
The Bronx native said being close to his family was the deciding factor. His older brother Joey is also enrolled at St. John’s after transferring from Florida International, where he played for three seasons. Joey Delarosa is not currently part of the St. John’s basketball program.
Adonis Delarosa, dressed in a St. John’s T-shirt and baseball cap, said he felt strongly about staying close to home. Having his brother around will give him someone to lean on as he embarks on the next part of his life. He also expects to enjoy St. John’s home games at Madison Square Garden.
“I think he is a true New York guy,” Royals Coach Joe Arbitello said. “He’s a New York kid, likes the bright lights and all that New York has to offer. I couldn’t really see him in a school in the middle of nowhere.”
Delarosa moved his announcement up from April 18 at the Jordan Brand Classic because his family had bigger things to be concerned about. His 24-year-old sister Cindy, who lives in the Dominican Republic, was diagnosed with leukemia in December. He and his family plan on traveling to visit her.
“I just wanted everything to be over with,” Delarosa said.
He is St. John’s’ first commitment for its 2014 recruiting class. The Red Storm still have five scholarships available after the transfers of center Chris Obekpa and shooting Max Hooper as well as the loss of wing JaKarr Sampson, who declared his intention to enter the NBA draft.Delarosa said the player movement at St. John’s and its lack of a true big man didn’t influence his decision. The Red Storm was seemingly a win away from reaching the NCAA tournament last month, and the disappointing season actually has him excited for the future.
Arbitello believes Delarosa can help St. John’s right away if the CK star can keep himself in shape and get stronger. He has lost 100 pounds since his freshman year at Christ the King.
Arbitello said that “6-5 guards, 6-4 guards are a dime a dozen, 6-11 with great hands and great feet don’t come everyday.”
Delarosa, an All-Queens first team selection by TimesLedger Newspapers, leaves quite a career behind at Christ the King. He won consecutive CHSAA Class AA intersectional titles each followed by state Federation crowns. Delarosa averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds this season for CK and had the game-winning three-point play in the CHSAA semifinals against rival Cardinal Hayes.
He believes he gives the Red Storm something the Big East school lacked last year.
“They didn’t have an inside presence, who they can throw the ball to and who can score,” Delarosa said, predicting his role at St. John’s. “Next year they will with me on the team.”
He is happy to have the recruiting process over and his new school will keep him close to his family. Delarosa expects his new St. John’s community and its fanbase to support him
“You know you are going to be home. You know you are going to have New York City behind you,” he said.
CK’s Walker picks Loyola: Christ the King guard Andre Walker also has a college lined up for next season.
The point guard picked Loyola over Boston University and Niagara. Walker was told to be patient as his college offers were scarce. Loyola was the first to offer and has been the most loyal to Walker throughout the process.
He said every coach there loved him and showed how much they wanted him.
“You want to go where you are loved,” Walker said.
Christ the King certainly enjoyed having him on its side the last few years after he transferred from St. Anthony’s (L.I.). Walker was the major reason why CK had its playoff success.
He tallied 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the CHSAA final against Loughlin and dropped in 25 points vs. Long Island Lutheran in the state Federation championship game. Those performances brought attention from more colleges.
“He was smart enough to stay where he was wanted the most,” Arbitello said.
Walker felt comfortable with Loyola Coach G.G. Smith, a great guard in his own right. He directs his team to play an uptempo style with a commitment to defense that fits Walker’s game. Walker couldn’t be happier with his choice.
“Now I can sleep a night,” he said.
Notes: Royals football players Deyshaun Tucker and Kamran Raja announced their commitment to play at Stony Brook and West Virginia State respectively.
CK basketball player Shannon Barrett is headed to Molloy College.