Ten Recruits and Ten Coaches New St. John's Coach Chris Mullin Should Reach Out to -- Immediately | Zagsblog
Recent Posts
About ZagsBlog
Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Follow Zags on Twitter
Couldn't connect with Twitter
Contact Zags
Connect with Zags:
Monday / March 4.
  • Ten Recruits and Ten Coaches New St. John’s Coach Chris Mullin Should Reach Out to — Immediately

    Share Zagsblog Share Zagsblog
    RawleNEW YORK — Chris Mullin and his staff at St. John’s won’t have much time to relax once they take the reins in Queens.

    The St. John’s roster is full of question marks and will need a major upgrade going forward to compete in the Big East and for future NCAA Tournament bids.

    The Johnnies are graduating the core of this year’s NCAA Tournament team including D’Angelo Harrison, an All-Big East First Teamer; Sir’Dominic Pointer, who won the Big East Most Improved honor; and fellow senior guards Phil Greene IV and Jamal Branch.

    Also, the futures of sophomore guard Rysheed Jordan and junior big man Chris Obekpa — who was suspended for the NCAA Tournament after failing a drug test — remain highly uncertain. If one or both come back for the 2015-16 season, St. John’s will have some key veteran pieces to build around. If one or both leave, not so much.

    With that in mind, here are 10 recruits and 10 AAU and high school coaches Mullin and his staff should immediately reach out to once they get settled into their offices in Queens.

    Keep in mind that there are two key recruiting weekends coming up April 10 and April 24 with a contact period April 17-23. The late signing period begins April 15.



    1. Cheick Diallo, 2015 F, Centereach (NY) Our Savior New American

    Former coach Steve Lavin saw the 6-foot-9 Diallo last week and had developed a relationship with the uncommitted McDonald’s All-American. Diallo is also close with St. John’s junior guard Felix Balamou, who could have a more prominent role next season. If Mullin can somehow entice his close friend Barry “Slice” Rohrsssen to leave Kentucky and come home to New York, it would be an invaluable hire in this recruitment and others. Kentucky is among the schools vying for Diallo’s services, along with Iowa State, Pitt, Kansas and St. John’s. Diallo and his camp are also curious about the point guard situation at St. John’s for next season, so timing is critical.

    2. Marcus LoVett, 2015 G, Chicago (IL) Morgan Park

    Speaking of point guards, Lavin and his staff were also actively recruiting the 6-foot LoVett, and LoVett recently Tweeted, “NY seems like a nice place to go.” Still, the change of coaches in Queens may alter the landscape. “It changes things,” Mike Irvin of the Mac Irvin Fire told Michael O’Brien. “He wants to play for a coach he knows and is comfortable with.”

    3. Brandon Sampson, 2015 G, Baton Rouge (LA) Madison Prep

    The prized recruit in Lavin’s 2015 class, the 6-4 Sampson opted to re-open his recruitment in the wake of the coaching change and Mullin and his staff should reach out immediately since Sampson seemed to like New York. Jeff Jones, Sampson’s coach, “Yes, they are under consideration,” Jones, Sampson’s high school coach, told SNY.tv Sunday evening that Mullin is “a great hire for the University to get a Hall of Fame alumnus” and St. John’s is still “under consideration.” LSU, Cal, UCLA, Oklahoma State, Oregon and USC were also involved for Sampson.

    4. Georgios Papagiannis, 2015 C, Greece

    The 7-footer is currently playing in Greece and Lavin and his staff had been involved, as were Kentucky, Arizona, UConn, St. John’s and Temple. I’m not sure what contacts Mullin and his staff have in Greece, but it may be worth it to send out feelers to bring this kid to New York as he’s considered a future NBA prospect.

    5. Rawle Alkins, 2016 G, Middle Village (N.Y.) Christ the King

    For some reason I never quite understood, Lavin and his staff never recruited the 6-4 Alkins, New York City’s top player. In the meantime, Villanova, Indiana and Cincinnati worked hard to recruit Alkins, who has been compared to a young Lance Stephenson. It may not be too late for the new staff to make an effort, though. “St. John’s has not recruited me,” Alkins told the Daily News. “I don’t know if they will come see me if Chris Mullin comes back, but if he does I would love to see what he has to say.”

    Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello told SNY.tv: “Rawle thinks [Mullin] could help him a lot. I’ve said this several times, New York City kids are trying to get out of New York, Rawle’s looking to stay in New York. I think he wants to stay at Christ the King High School. He’s trying like crazy so what does that tell you about him? I think there’s a lot of thinks that he would like about St. John’s and he would love a phone call from Chris Mullin.”

    6. Tyus Battle, 2016 G, Gladstone (N.J.) Gill St. Bernard’s

    Lavin and his staff rarely recruited New Jersey’s top players, with Isaiah Briscoe a rare exception. It’s probably way too late to get in on the 6-6 Battle, who will be the state’s best player next season but it can’t hurt to reach out. Battle is already in deep with several schools and is considering Duke, Louisville, Kentucky, Syracuse, Michigan and Ohio State, among others.

    7. Devonte Green, 2016 G, Long Island Lutheran

    The younger brother of San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green, Devonte is a highly skilled, athletic guard who is being recruited hard by Rutgers, with Seton Hall and Maryland also in the mix. Mullin and his staff would do well to check in on Green and reach out to Long Island Lutheran coach John Buck.

    8. Shamorie Ponds, 2016 G, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Thomas Jefferson 

    Ponds has drawn comparisons to a young Russ Smith and Nick Van Exel and is a prolific scorer who frequently puts up 20+ or 30+ games. Minnesota, Miami, Seton Hall, Oklahoma, Iona and Fordham were among his offers.

    9. Jordan Tucker, 2017 SF, White Plains (N.Y.) Archbishop Stepinac

    A supremely gifted and athletic wing, Tucker already holds offers from Syracuse, UConn and Arizona, but Mullin and company should make a real effort for this kid as keeping him home in New York would be a huge coup.

    10. Naz Reid, 2018 C, Roselle (N.J.) Catholic

    This kid is a man-child and if you don’t know who he is yet, you will soon. A mobile, athletic big who can run the court and dunk with ferocity, his upside is huge if he can develop a face-up game and work on his fundamentals. Reid already owns offers from UConn, Virginia, N.C. State, Maryland and Iowa State, and Kentucky coach John Calipari saw him recently while watching Briscoe. If I’m Mullin, I’d offer this kid. Yesterday.

    Bonus picks: Ray Salnave, 2016 G, Cardozo; Trevon Duval, 2017 PG, Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict’s Prep; Nate Pierre-Louis, 2017 PG, St. Benedict’s Prep; Jose Alvarado, 2017 PG, Christ the King; Sid Wilson, 2017 SF, St. Raymond’s; Isaiah Washington, 2017 PG, St. Raymond’s; Louis King, 2018 SG, Roselle Catholic; Mohammed Bamba, 2017 F, Westtown (Pa); Bryce Aiken, 2016 PG, St. Patrick; 2016 G Travis Atson, South Kent (CT).



    1. Joe Arbitello, Christ the King

    “I don’t think they really wanted to recruit Rawle [Alkins],” Arbitello told SNY.tv of the previous St. John’s staff. “Some people said it was because of my relationship with the St. John’s staff but I had a very good relationship with the St. John’s staff right up until November.”

    2. Bob Hurley, St. Anthony

    Do I really need to explain this one? The man is more than 1,000 games over .500 for his career.

    3. Dave Boff, Roselle Catholic

    Coached Tyler Roberson, Malachi Richardson and Isaiah Briscoe. Just won his second New Jersey Tournament of Champions title in three years. See: Naz Reid.

    4. Ron Naclerio, Cardozo

    Nicknamed “The Teacher.” Won the New York PSAL title in 2014. Again, do I need to explain this one?

    5. Ed Bright/Brian Coleman, Sports U

    These guys run one of the top AAU programs in the area and produced Karl-Anthony Towns (Kentucky), Jared Nickens (Maryland), Wade Baldwin (Vanderbilt) and Quadri Moore (Cincinnati) among others.

    6. Jimmy Salmon, NJ Playaz

    Again, does this need explaining? The Playaz have produced 16 McDonald’s All-Americans, with Briscoe the latest.

    7. Terrance “Munch” Williams, PSA Cardinals

    Elite AAU program that has produced Syracuse’s Chris McCullough, VCU’s Terry Larrier, uncommitted big man Thomas Bryant and Villanova commit Omari Spellman among others.

    8. Shandue McNeil/Dana Dingle, New York Lightning

    Another elite AAU team that’s produced Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado and Fordham’s Jon Severe among others.

    9. Terrell Myers/Matt Pauls, WE R 1

    One of the most consistent and strong AAU programs in the area.

    10. Mo Hicks/Oz Cross, New Heights

    One of the top AAU teams in New York City.


    Bonus picks: Billy Turnage, Wings Academy; Nick Mariniello, Hudson Catholic; Chris Chavannes, St. Patrick; Bud Pollard, Thomas Jefferson, Jorge Lopez, St. Raymond’s, Eric Jaklitsch, Our Savior.

    Written by

    [email protected]

    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

  • } });