ex-St. John’s commit Jaquan Sanders on his way to Seton Hall

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

A month after Jaquan Sanders, a Queens native, stepped out of Mike Anderson’s program, the highly regarded three-star observatory made a verbal commitment 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 comes from a dangerous neighborhood in Far Rockaway – than nearby St. John’s.

“I said, ‘It’s gone, but it’s not too far,'” 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 the abundance of guards had nothing to do with the decision to quit. It just came down to the fact that he felt more comfortable being in New Jersey than in Queens. After his union with St. John’s, a friend of his was murdered in their building, and other things happened in their neighborhood that made her feel uneasy about the first decision.

“In the beginning, before all these things happened, we insisted on St. John’s. But it’s not just about basketball,” she says. “In the end, I had to make the decision that was best for him.”

“Without the various things that happened in Far Rockaway, I would have been okay with him going there.”

The 6-foot-3 Sanders, the first high school candidate to be the Anderson-era decommander at St. John’s, had recently announced a top five from Seton Hall, St. Bonaventure, Hofstra, Temple and Butler. But Seton Hall was always seen as the all-time favorite when the sniper guard said goodbye to St. John’s.

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

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Sanders’ recruitment was very interesting to follow. About a week before he gave in to St. John’s back in mid-September, there were whispers that he would end up in Seton Hall. But that changed during his official visit to Queens. Shortly after he singled out the Johnnies, he withdrew from his commitment. Now he goes to the Hall.

Two years ago, St. John’s beat Seton Hall to Alexander, who was the freshman of the year and co-defensive player of the year last season. Seton Hall returned the favor here, adding more spice to a rivalry that has become increasingly fierce in recent years.

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

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