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Monday / February 6.
  • Chris Mullin, Staff Impress Flock of New York-Area Recruits

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    Feb 21, 2015; Jamaica, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm alum Chris Mullin is inducted into the St. John's hall of fame during halftime against the Seton Hall Pirates at Carnesecca Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Chris Mullin and his staff hosted about 15 top recruits from New York and New Jersey on Saturday.  Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    If Chris Mullin and his staff were trying to make an impression on some of the best young talent in New York and New Jersey, it sounds like they succeeded on Saturday.

    With about 15 top area players from the Classes of 2016, ’17 and ’18 in attendance, Mullin and assistant Barry “Slice” Rohrssen talked about the vision for the future and how they envisioned developing young players for potential pro careers down the road.

    Greg St. Jean, a former Wesleyan University basketball player and the the son of former Sacramento Kings head coach Garry St. Jean, is the acting third assistant and is helping to work out St. John’s players. The recruits watched video and played pickup on campus.

    “I think St. John’s message is that they’re going to have a ton of guys who have done things at the highest level as far as the NBA is concerned,” Terrance “Munch” Williams, the director of the PSA Cardinals AAU program, told “There’s going to be a heavy dose of development when the guys get to St. John’s, whoever chooses to attend the University. Their focus is going to be more on skill development and preparing you for the next level, as opposed to just running offensive sets and defensive schemes that will help the individual college win games. They’re more focused on kids being ready and developing their strengths.”

    Among the players on hand were 6-foot-11 2017 athletic big man Mohamed Bamba of the PSA Cardinals, who picked up offers from St. John’s and Indiana on Saturday; Roselle (N.J.) Catholic 2018 studs Naz Reid and Louis King: 2018 Hudson Catholic guard Jahvon Quinerly; 2017 St. Raymond’s wing Sid Wilson; 2017 Christ the King point guard Jose Alvarado and 2018 guard Tyrek Chambers; and 2016 Thomas Jefferson scoring guard Shamorie Ponds.

    Among the coaches on hand were Williams; Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello; St. Ray’s coach Jorge Lopez; Thomas Jefferson coach Lawrence “Bud” Pollard; Burlington (N.J.) Life Center coach Pervis Ellison, the father of incoming St. John’s guard Malik Ellison; New York Lightning coach Dana Dingle; Sports U director Brian Coleman; and AAU coach Kareem Meminger.

    “I was impressed with the amount of work Mullin and his staff have put in in such a short period of time,” Lopez told “He was clear in stating that keeping the best talent in the tri-state is a top priority for St. John’s.”

    Christ the King’s Arbitello, who had a falling out with previous coach Steve Lavin, seemed very enthusiastic, too.

    “They were good, they were really good,” he said. “[Mullin’s] message was, “Hey, we know what it takes to play in the NBA and we’re going to make your son that type of a basketball player.'”

    Added Arbitello: “It was just nice to have everybody together from New York and that gym being St. John’s….It was impressive, it seems that everybody in New York is on the same page right now.”

    Christ the King star Rawle Alkins was not in attendance because he is at the adidas Eurocamp in Rome, where he scored 18 points and grabbed 5 boards Saturday to lead Team USA over France.

    Still, Andy Borman, Alkins’ AAU coach with the NY Rens, told the New York Post St. John’s is working hard to recruit Alkins and fellow 2016 guard Mustapha Heron.

    “They’re doing everything right,” Borman said.

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    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.