AJ Storr stepped on the Garden floor and imagined playing under the famed building’s bright lights. He could picture himself wearing St. John’s red and white, and wowing big crowds.
If there was a highlight of his official visit to the Queens school this week, this was it. A trip to the World’s Most Famous Arena that ended any more thoughts of where he wanted to go to college.
“I went to the Garden and I was overwhelmed,” the 6-foot-6, four-star guard told The Post after verbally committing to Mike Anderson and St. John’s. “There’s nothing like the Garden and being able to play in that [environment] in New York.”
Wednesday night, Storr became the biggest-name recruit St. John’s has landed in the Anderson era. A four-star guard, he is ranked by ESPN No. 49 in his class. He is St. John’s first top-50 prospect since Shamorie Ponds in 2016.
When told about the significance of his decision, Storr said it wouldn’t matter when he got to college. He would have to prove himself like every other recruit.
The entire staff took a role in recruiting him, according to his mother Annette Brandy. She spoke to a different St. John’s coach every day. Anderson, though, was extremely active, speaking frequently to Storr and Brandy, and making it clear the IMG Academy (Fla.) guard was a priority for St. John’s.
“He was very, very involved. Assistant coaches, they leave programs all the time because they grow to be head coaches,” said Brandy, who played college basketball herself at Illinois Central College and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “When you develop a relationship with the head coach, that makes a big difference for a player.”
Originally committed to Illinois, Storr decommitted after assistants Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman left for Kentucky. Storr and his mother took visits this summer to Kansas, Illinois, LSU and Oklahoma, but Brandy felt there was something unique about St. John’s. Her son seemed more at ease there. He smiled more. She could tell he was enjoying his time and liked the uptempo style St. John’s plays. He had fun with the current players and got to know what the program was all about during a dinner with current star Julian Champagnie.
“At. St. John’s, it just felt a little different. We felt a family-oriented vibe,” Brandy said. “It was the big city, but the university itself felt intimate. … I could see that he felt more comfortable. It kind of felt like we were with our family hanging out instead of on a college visit and I could see AJ felt that comfort.”
Storr added: “It’s not about the name [of the school]. It’s about fit, what’s best for you.”
Champagnie, a Brooklyn native, told him all about his development under Anderson’s coaching staff, from an underrated prospect to one of the best players in the Big East to someone who could be drafted next summer. Storr saw similarities to Champagnie in himself. Anderson and Co. told Storr he could be the reigning Big East’s leading scorer’s replacement by the time he arrives.
“They plan for me to come in and be an impact player,” Storr said.
A college coach familiar with Storr said he had a big spring on the AAU circuit and his stock rose significantly. He averaged 12.6 points and 1.1 steals during the prestigious Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in July with Vegas Elite.
“Good player, good body, very athletic,” the coach said. “Great in transition. Fits their system. Could be a starter from day one.”
Storr joins Florida point guard Kolby King in Anderson’s 2022 recruiting class. St. John’s still has one scholarship open for next year and may still fill it, sources said.