By Jeff Goodman, Matt Norlander and Jeff Borzello
A head coach recovering from surgery, three freshmen ruled ineligible and now, a transfer: sophomore guard Nuri Lindsey is leaving St. John's.
"I came to St. John's for a couple of reasons," Lindsey said in a prepared statement. "One was to be close to my mom, whose health has been up and down due to some past experiences. The second was to play for Coach Lav. In both instances it has not worked out how I envisioned."
He also reaffirmed to CBSSports.com that he is not looking to go to the NBA immediately.
"My intentions are to transfer to a Division-I school," Lindsey said. "I want to be a college basketball player."
It's a move the Red Storm can't really afford. The team's a shell of what it was last year, when it had nine seniors and went to the NCAA tournament. Steve Lavin's team this year is 4-5 and chock full of young players -- or at least was. The original crop that had come in is now about halfway. Jakarr Sampson, Amir Garrett and Norvel Pelle were ruled ineligible in mid-September. Garrett still plans to join the team at the semester break.
Lindsey was third on the team in scoring, averaging 11.8 points. He's also averaging 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists so far this season. Lindsey has been a very valuable piece to the Red Storm's operation, one that could really see its Big East chances to be competitive evaporate with him no longer in the mix.
He told CBSSports.com that his mother lives two and a half hours away from New York, and he would like to transfer to a school closer to her.
"We've talked and we already have a school in mind," Lindsey said. He would not reveal which school.
What's more, CBSSports.com has learned one of the reasons Lindsey has opted out was due to poor grades.
"It would've been a stretch to get him through," one source said, referring to his second semester on campus.
The news of Lindsey's transfer was first reported by Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News.
Lindsey confirmed the news via Twitter, giving a long explanation of the reasons behind his decision, as well as what his next move will be. "Ultimately I felt as though this decision was best for me and my family," Lindsey tweeted. "I am looking forward to moving to another school. Will not be taking any steps toward any professional move. I like school, and feel as though I still have so much more to learn and much more room for improvement. So once again, sincerely apologize. I'll be moving on to another program."
The original version of this inaccurately listed Lindsey as a freshman.Photo: US PRESSWIRE