Nov. 13, 2008
QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's women's basketball coach Kim Barnes Arico announced Thursday that four players from the New York Metropolitan area will be joining the Red Storm for the 2009-10 academic year, as Jennifer Blanding, Amanda Burakoski, Nadirah McKenith and Eugeneia McPherson signed National Letters of Intent.
"The 2009-10 signing class is one of our strongest ever," Barnes Arico said. "My assistants, under the direction of Recruiting Coordinator and Associate Head Coach Joe Tartamella, did an outstanding job of recruiting local talent to St. John's University. We were not only able to sign four outstanding basketball players, but we were able to sign four young ladies that grew up within 20 miles of the University. It has always been our goal to attract the best players in the area to our program and University.
"These young women believe that they, along with our returning team, can bring a championship to St. John's. This class fills the needs of our team as we look to take the next step forward as a program. I truly look forward to coaching each one of these young ladies."
Jennifer Blanding 6-3 C Notre Dame Prep (MA)
"With her size and strength, Jennifer will give our program a dimension we haven't had in some time," Barnes Arico said. "Jennifer is a true center with great hands and finishing ability."
Amanda Burakoski 6-0 G The Mary Louis Academy
Rated the 66th-best player in the country and the 14th-best at her position on ESPN.com, Burakoski is an extremely well-rounded player who possesses tremendous offensive ability and is a strong rebounder. Out of The Mary Louis Academy in Queens, she averaged 16 points and three steals per game in her junior campaign, and scored her 1,000th career point on Dec. 12, 2007, against Kellenberg High. Burakoski capped the year scoring 22 points in the Brooklyn/Queens semifinals and was an all-city honorable mention selection. A two-time first-team All-Queens selection by the Daily News and Times Ledger, she averaged 20.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 5.0 steals per game her sophomore season, including posting a triple-double (33 points, 15 rebounds, 10 steals) against Bishop Kearney. For her efforts, Burakoski was a Daily News City Player of the Year candidate.
"Amanda is one of the top shooters in the class of 2009," Barnes Arico said. "She has an unbelievable release and, with her size, she can score over most people. Along with Amanda's ability to shoot, she has great court vision and her passes can make those around her better."
Nadirah McKenith 5-7 G University High
"I believe Nadirah will establish herself as one of the best high school point guards in the country this year," said Barnes Arico. "Nadirah is an exceptional ball handler and will dazzle the crowd with an array of no-look passes. With the guidance of her high school coach Felecia Oliver, Nadirah has taken steps every season to improve her game, as well as her leadership qualities. She is going to be a star at St. John's and in the BIG EAST Conference."
Eugeneia McPherson 5-8 G North Babylon High
"Eugeneia is a special young lady and I truly look forward to coaching her," said Barnes Arico. "Eugeneia is soft spoken off the court, but once she steps within the lines, she is one of the fiercest competitors around. She is one of the top players in the state of New York. She is a winner and will do whatever is takes to be successful, whether that is taking a three, going to the basket for an and-one or taking a charge to win the game."