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St. John’s Red Storm lands junior college star

Tallahassee Community College basketball star Marcus Hatten has given his verbal commitment to St. John's University, the Tallahassee Democrat reported Thursday, ending months of speculation as to whether the Red Storm would land one of the most sought-after junior college players in the nation.

A first-team National Junior College Athletic Association All-American, Hatten led the Eagles to a No. 2 national ranking and the Panhandle Conference championship last season. Tallahassee finished the season 29-2.

"I sat down and it just seemed that it had my name all over it," Hatten said to the Democrat. "Even though I haven't been there since January, it's always just stuck out."

The 6-foot-2, 165-pound guard out of Baltimore's Mervo High School is following in the footsteps of former Red Storm standout Marvis "Bootsy" Thornton, another Baltimore native who attended Tallahassee.

And like Thornton, Hatten is expected to make an immediate impact on the St. John's team.

Hatten will add much-needed scoring to a Red Storm team that finished the 2000-01 season 14-15 and out of postseason play. During the season Hatten averaged 24.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.6 steals per game and was voted first team all-conference, first team all-state and Panhandle Conference and Florida Community College Activities Association Player of the Year.

A versatile guard, Hatten can play either the point or the No. 2 slot, allowing Willie Shaw to move to the small forward position and add needed depth at the point, currently occupied by Omar Cook and recently bolstered by the commitment of Amityville's Tristan Smith.

Cook, who may declare himself for the NBA Draft in June, may be compelled to stay at St. John's with the addition of Hatten. One of the main reasons attributed to Cook's possible early departure was the team's lack of scoring options.

St. John's could not confirm or deny the report and had not received a signed letter of intent from Hatten.

Hatten was the Panhandle Conference Fresh-of-the-Year in his first season with the Eagles, scoring 16.1 points per game and leading the team with 5.8 boards and 4.6 steals. In high school has was voted all-Metro Player of the Year by the Baltimore Sun his senior year, averaging 25 points, 9.1 rebounds and 12.5 assists.

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

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