Ex-St. John’s commit Jaquan Sanders heading to Seton Hall

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This is only going to add to the intense nature of the St. John’s-Seton Hall rivalry.

A month after Queens native Jaquan Sanders decommitted from Mike Anderson’s program, the highly-regarded three-star guard verbally committed to Kevin Willard’s Pirates on Friday night. He plans to sign his National Letter of Intent on Thursday.

Sanders’ mother, Lisa, wanted him further away from home — he hails from a dangerous neighborhood in Far Rockaway — than nearby St. John’s.

“I said, ‘it’s away, but it’s not too far away,’” she told The Post. “As a family, we all agreed it was close enough, but far enough.”

Lisa said St. John’s style of play and its glut of guards had nothing to do with the decision to decommit. It merely boiled down to feeling more comfortable with him being in New Jersey rather than Queens. After his commitment to St. John’s, a friend of his was killed in their building, and other things took place in their neighborhood that made her feel uneasy about the initial decision.

“At first, before all of these things happened, we were pushing for St. John’s. But it’s not just about basketball,” she said. “At the end of the day, I had to make the decision that was best for him.”

“If not for the different things that were happening in Far Rockaway, I would’ve been OK with him going there.”

The 6-foot-3 Sanders, the first high school prospect to decommit in the Anderson era at St. John’s, had recently announced a top five of Seton Hall, St. Bonaventure, Hofstra, Temple and Butler. But Seton Hall was always seen as the heavy favorite, once the sharpshooting guard parted ways with St. John’s.

Sanders, who attends Our Saviour Lutheran in The Bronx — where he once teamed with current Johnnies Posh Alexander and Dylan Addae-Wusu — recently took an unofficial visit to Seton Hall and the Pirates’ coaching staff had seen him a few times at OSL.
“We didn’t think they would still want him, but they did,” Lisa said. “That meant a lot to us.”

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Sanders’ recruitment was a very interesting one to follow. Roughly a week before he committed to St. John’s back in mid-September, there were whispers he was going to wind up at Seton Hall. But that changed during his official visit to Queens. Then, shortly after picking the Johnnies, he backed off his commitment. Now he is headed to the Hall.

Two years ago, St. John’s beat out Seton Hall for Alexander, who was the league’s Freshman of the Year and co-Defensive Player of the Year last season. Seton Hall returned the favor here, adding spice to a rivalry that has grown more heated in recent years.

Sanders joins three-star guard Jaquan Harris and three-star forward Percy Daniels in Willard’s 2021 recruiting class. St. John’s has a two-man class, four-star guard AJ Storr and three-star guard Kolby King, that is set to sign on Wednesday at the start of the early signing period.

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