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Elite 2023 Forward Brandon Gardner Picks St. John's

Gardner is one of the most versatile forwards in the country and thrives as an elite athlete.

Word of God Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) forward Brandon Gardner ended his recruitment Monday morning, picking St. John’s over Florida, Alabama, Kansas, Georgetown and Georgia Tech, among others.

The 6-foot-7 athlete went in-depth about the reasons behind his decision in an exclusive blog with SI, writing that he’s “wanted to commit for a while.”

“It’s a big relief to have this over and done with,” Gardner wrote. “For me, it was all about the coaching staff, their style of play and it’s in the Big Apple. I really wanted to play in the biggest market for a great program with a lot of history, great coaches and the best fans in the country.”

Brandon Gardner

Gardner is Mike Anderson's first commitment from the 2023 class.

Gardner built his reputation nationally as a workhorse in the paint with a propensity for throwing down ferocious dunks, usually over the top of the opposition. Over the last year or more, he’s expanded his overall offensive skill set, elevating his standing as one of the top players in the 2023 class.

This past season, he averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks a game for the Holy Rams and has been one of the best utility forwards in the Nike EYBL, averaging 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks a game for Boo Williams (Va.).

SI’s SI99 basketball rankings for 2023 don’t drop until later in the year, but Gardner’s consistency and versatility should put him in optimal position to make the list.

Gardner is Red Storm coach Mike Anderson’s first commit from the 2023 class, but Gardner is confident he won’t be the last.

“A couple of guys that I’m planning to reach out are Brandon Williams, Isaiah Collier, Mikey Williams and a few others,” Gardner wrote. “I want to win a national title at St. John’s so I want to bring in the top class so we can get it done.”

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