September 06, 2011
As St. John's coach Steve Lavin ramped up his recruitment of Nurideen Lindsey last fall, the New York times published a poignant account of the Redlands Community College guard's trouble-filled path to major college basketball.
That story was well-reported and well-written, yet hearing Lindsey's tale in his own words may be even more powerful.
The above video is an "Inspiration Speech" that the Philadelphia native and St. John's signee apparently did for a speech class at Redlands in April. Lindsey describes why he was more committed to basketball than academics in high school, how the death of his best friend and younger brother caused him to drop out of school during his senior year and what eventually led him to rededicate himself in the classroom.
"I went from losing my little brother and best friend and feeling I would never play basketball again to being in the best position ever in my life from an athletic standpoint and academic standpoint," Lindsey said.
"I say all this to say that no matter what happens in life, no matter what people tell you you can't do, you can do it. If you have a dream, you have to protect it. A lot of times people who aren't doing anything themselves try to tell you you can't do it. As much as I went through, I realize where I am at this day is because I wanted this. If you want something, go get it."
Lindsey is one of nine newcomers on a St. John's team that returns only one scholarship player from last season and must replace 97.8 percent of its scoring. The 6-foot-3 guard who once threatened Wilt Chamberlain's scoring record at Overbrook High School will have three years of eligibility remaining and ample opportunity to play right away.
Considering all he's been through to get to St. John's, chances are it's an opportunity he'll cherish and won't let go to waste.