This was again in February, lengthy earlier than Brandon Gardner would turn out to be a Johnnie, earlier than St. John’s obtained on considerably of a recruiting roll, earlier than it turned apparent Mike Anderson and his teaching employees have been very a lot an choice to land the prized four-star, top-75 ahead.
It was on his official go to to the Queens college, a visit that laid the groundwork for Monday morning’s dedication he introduced with a video on social media. There was one thing totally different about this go to. Gardner liked the adoration he acquired from followers, who dubbed him, “Madison Sq. Gardner.” The environment on the Backyard, even in a slim loss to Villanova, stayed with him. Throughout an enormous late run, Gardner was as into the sport as anybody, pulling laborious for the Purple Storm, celebrating each huge play like he was a diehard.
“I simply love this system,” he instructed The Put up in a telephone interview. “We developed an incredible relationship with [assistant] Van Macon, Mike Anderson. It was all the pieces.
“The fan base was loopy, actually, I’d by no means seen something like that. I noticed [fans holding] posters of me. I simply stated, ‘That is the place I should be.’ That caught with me for actual.”
Brandon Gardner fell in love with St. John’s throughout his recruitment. Courtesy of Tameka Gordon
Now, the uber-talented 6-foot-8 Gardner, an electrical athlete with 3-point vary, had a whole lot of different choices. The Georgia native took official visits to LSU and Auburn. Georgetown and Ole Miss tried to get him to take visits in current weeks. However St. John’s was his selection — it had been for weeks.
Gardner made the decision for quite a lot of causes: The bond he developed with the teaching employees, led by Macon with an help from director of basketball operations Chris Huey; the presence of his shut pal AJ Storr, a fellow four-star recruit who can be a freshman this yr at St. John’s; the uptempo fashion of play he feels matches him like a glove; and with the ability to name New York Metropolis house. He likes the intense lights — in response to sources. Gardner is predicted to complete highschool within the 5 boroughs this fall.
“New York is fairly cool, simply the way in which individuals act in New York,” he stated “The way in which they speak, the way in which they transfer. New York is quick — I like quick.”
Gardner added: “The meals is loopy. I just like the pizza and gyros.”
Since his official go to, St. John’s followers have been throughout Gardner’s Twitter account, rooting for him to select the Johnnies. It’s uncommon that certainly one of his tweets doesn’t embody a fan writing to him, utilizing the #SJUBB hashtag. He’s a fan favourite earlier than stepping onto campus.
“I really like stuff like that, I really like interacting with the followers,” Gardner stated. “Say I dunk on someone, I’m going to get the followers concerned. I simply love vitality.”
He later stated: “I’m bringing pleasure again to Massive East basketball.”
Brandon Gardner and his mom. Tameka (left) and brother Jeremy (proper). Courtesy of Tameka Gordon
Consolation performed a serious position. Gardner’s mom, Tameka Gordon, and Anderson share a pal who raved in regards to the St. John’s coach’s character. Then there was Macon. He met Gordon throughout an AAU match early on in her son’s recruitment. Initially, she didn’t know Macon was a coach as they watched Gardner play since he wasn’t carrying any school-affiliated clothes. They obtained to know one another properly that means. Ultimately that day, after sharing a bag of chips and watching the sport, Macon revealed he was a coach for St. John’s.
“I contemplate him a silent killer,” Gordon stated. “From that second on [after we met], I used to be like, ‘I like him.’
“He got here within the scene out of nowhere. The calls I obtained from all the opposite coaches, some have been nice, some have been generic. He actually set the tone. He taught me loads on this recruiting course of, a whole lot of issues that I want to take a look at and take note of, not simply the glamor of the visits and the burden rooms and all that stuff. Understanding him, his spouse Pam Macon who I met, their whole household, it felt heat.”
Brandon Gardner is without doubt one of the highest-rated prospects St. John’s has ever landed. Courtesy of Tameka Gordon
Touchdown Gardner is a serious recruiting win for St. John’s and Anderson. He’s the highest-rated recruit Anderson has landed at St. John’s, the second top-100 highschool recruit following Storr and he continues the current recruiting momentum, after the Purple Storm signed top-25 transfers Andre Curbelo (Illinois) and David Jones (DePaul). The Johnnies are additionally firmly within the combine for four-star Queens ahead Brandon Williams of Christ the King and four-star guards Silas Demary Jr., and Carl Cherenfant, together with three-star New Jersey guard Elijah Gertrude. Gardner and Williams have developed a friendship, and Gardner is attempting to get him to remain house, in response to sources.
“Excellent participant,” a Division I coach conversant in Gardner stated. “Good physique. Wonderful rebounder. Actually a high-major huge.”
One other stated: “Expertise degree, talent degree is excessive. He’s an excellent participant. He’s obtained a whole lot of offensive sport. St. John’s is legitimately getting a top-50 expertise.”