St. John’s Head Coach Steve Lavin diagnosed with prostate cancer

Speaking of John Calipari, he was once rumored (as a Pitt assistant) to have told at least one prospective St. John’s recruit that then coach Lou Carnesecca was dying of cancer.  This is a story that Jim Calhoun certainly seems to be believe.

Now comes word that first year St. John’s Head Coach Steve Lavin, who has recently returned the Red Storm to relevance with an NCAA appearance and tremendous recruiting, is in the early stages of prostate cancer.  The good news is that Lavin is young, the cancer was caught early, and it’s a very treatable form of cancer at that stage.  Jim Calhoun and Jim Boeheim have both been previously diagnosed and treated with prostate cancer, and each appears to have made a fully recovery.  Best wishes go out to Coach Lavin, his family and St. John’s, for a full and speedy recovery.

Ironically, I was wondering the other day what was going through the mind of one-time UConn recruits Cleveland Melvin and Maurice Harkless as they watched UConn win the NCAA Championship.  Melvin signed early but pulled his commitment when it seemed that he was going to play at Power Forward. He ended up at DePaul, where he was named Big East Rookie of the Year.

Harkless committed early, but decommitted last spring and signed with St. John’s over the summer.  Presumably, the turmoil and uncertainty surrounding the age and health of Jim Calhoun, along with the recruiting violations, were enough to make him pull his commitment. Now he ends up playing for a coach who unfortunately also has health issues, but I expect that he will enjoy a successful career at St. John’s under Lavin.


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