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Grace picks the Johnnies

The Brooklyn Paper
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Unlike so many other talented city products, Davontay Grace didn’t feel the need to leave the five boroughs when it came time to pick a college.

St. John’s had all he wanted, so Thomas Jefferson’s junior point guard verbally committed to the Jamaica, Queens school last week.

“I want to be the first one, to show everybody it’s good to stay home,” he told The Post just a few days after guiding Thomas Jefferson to a second place finish in the Puerto Rico Hoops Classic. “Hopefully more players will follow me.”

A playmaking 6-foot-1 guard, Grace led Jefferson to the PSAL Class AA semifinals last year and has helped them to the top of Brooklyn AA thus far. He chose St. John’s over West Virginia, Marquette and Hofstra.

The program’s progress %u2013 the Red Storm is 10-3 with quality wins over Temple, Hofstra and Siena %u2013 intrigued Grace, along with the opportunity to play right away since current point guard Malik Boothe will graduate next year. Plus, he follows a fine lineage of Jefferson stars going to St. John’s, players such as Tony Jackson and Leroy Ellis.

“I liked everything, it’s a great opportunity to get my education close to home, it’ a great opportunity to come in and play right away, and play against all the other top programs,” said Grace, how is averaging 10 points and nine assists per game this year. “If I would’ve chose somewhere else, I would have to wait a year or two. Going to St. John’s I can play right away and win.”

St. John’s was one of the first programs to notice Grace after his breakout freshman season. The Big East school followed him over the last few summers with the Long Island Lightning and during the high school season. Grace has attended several games this year, too, and developed a close bond with coach Norm Roberts.

“That’s the kid’s dream %u2013 to play at Madison Square Garden in front of his family and friends,” Jefferson coach Lawrence Pollard said. “He can definitely play at that level. He plays against a lot of those guys all year round. %u2026 He has some improving to do. Once he gets there, he’ll be able to reach his potential.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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