Norvel Pelle signs with Iona

Former St. John’s recruit Norvel Pelle has signed with Iona according to Jon Rothstein. This is a huge signing for the Gaels, and not just because Pelle is 6’11”. He was ranked 51st in the RSCI Top 100 for 2011 as part of Steve Lavin’s impressive class. Pelle is super skilled and his brother has compared him to Kevin Durant.

Pelle picked Iona over DePaul, New Mexico State and Auburn recently. Now the question becomes, can he play? The problem last season was that Pelle was declared academically ineligible. If he’s able to overcome the academic issues and regain his eligibility (which he told Adam Zagoria he expects to do) then Iona is going to be absolutely loaded.

A lineup of Pelle, Momo Jones, Sean Armand, Curtis Dennis and David Laury – who will be eligible in midseason – would give Iona talent comparable to any mid-major group of starters. How fast Tim Cluess is able to blend those five guys, plus the remainder of the Gaels’ roster, and deal with a variety of eligibility issues will be a large part of his work coaching this season.

The reward could be spectacular. The MAAC is wide open and that’s a lineup that can definitely win it. Iona’s biggest issue coming into the season was a lack of size. Well, with one fell swoop the Gaels might’ve solved it. Let’s see what the future holds.

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