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.
Rawle Alkins Visits St. John’s for Red-White Scrimmage
By CHRIS BARCANEW YORK –– Former Christ the King star Rawle Alkins spent his Halloween back in Queens on Saturday, where the five-star guard watched a St. John’s intersquad scrimmage from the front row.
Even though the 2016 product will be lacing up his shoes for Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God Academy, the Brooklyn native said St. John’s is still very much in the mix for his services, even as North Carolina and N.C. State have stepped up their efforts to land him
“Yeah, of course,” Alkins said, when asked if first-year head coach Chris Mullin and the Red Storm still have a fighting chance. “They’re in my top eight.”
Alkins took the above picture alongside Mullin and special assistant Mitch Ritchmond, and quoted Mullin on Twitter as saying, “If you wanna be a Hall Of Famer one day,what better way then learning from Hall Of Famers?”
Alkins added that, while he’s still getting acclimated to living in North Carolina, his ability in the classroom and on the court have already improved since he left Christ the King due to eligibility issues.
“My grades are getting way better. I’ve been focusing more on school,” he said. “My team is looking great too.”
“I think we’re better,” Alkins added when asked to compare his Word of God team and his prior Christ the King squads. “It’s an upgrade at every position. All my guys are high Division 1 players.”
The star, who is eyeing Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, UNC, UNLV and N.C .State along with St. John’s, still expects to make his college decision in the spring.
At halftime, Rohrssen embraced Alkins before leading him into an arena tunnel to chat with him for 10 minutes. At the end of the scrimmage, it was Mullin who hugged and talked with the recruit for a few moments.
Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s lone commit for 2016 from Thomas Jefferson, also briefly attended the event.
Justin Minaya, the son of former Mets GM Omar Minaya and a junior guard at Old Tappan, did not attend because he played in the 2015 IS8 Nike Fall Tip-Off Classic game where he helped Juice beat the NY Rens.
Three other New York City recruits also spent their Saturday at Carnesecca Arena, with four-star 2017 small forward Sid Wilson of St. Raymond’s in the Bronx saying St. John’s is “toward the top” of his list, which includes Cincinnati, Providence and VCU.
“It’s always good to stay close to home and be at a big program like St. John’s,” Wilson said. “I’m real close to my family, so it would be nice for them to come to all of my games.”
Wilson added that the appeal of playing for a Basketball Hall of Famer like Mullin would be a tremendous privilege, as would playing half of his home games each season at Madison Square Garden.
“Everyone wants to play at the Garden, especially if you’re from New York,” he said. “That would be great.”
In terms of visits to other schools, Wilson said a trip to South Florida may be in the cards in the near future, but he wasn’t sure of a possible date for a potential visit.
His St. Raymond’s teammate, 2018 guard Omar Silverio, was also in attendance, as was 2018 guard Bryce Willis, of Iona Prep.
Both have offers from Hofstra and Iona, with Fordham also extending an offer to the Iona Prep recruit.
Willis said he expects to visit Maryland in the near future, and while playing his college ball in New York City isn’t of tremendous importance to him, the guard said it’s something he’s definitely thought about.
“It would be a lot of fun for them to come watch me play,” Willis said of his family.
When it comes to potentially being coached by Mullin, he added that there might not be a coach better suited to getting him NBA ready than the first-year man.
“He could really help me get to the next level,” he said. “That’s important to me.”
Graduate transfer Durand Johnson poured in 32 points to lead Navy over Red, 84-72, in the scrimmage. Freshman point guard Federico Mussini added 17 points, 8 assists and 5 turnovers in the win and Kassoum Yakwe, who may end up redshirting this season, had 8 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman guard Marcus LoVett had 22 points, 8 assists and 4 turnovers for Red. Ron Mvouika added 16 points, Yankuba Sima had 15 and Malik Ellison 14.
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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.