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.
Ahead of big recruiting weekend, St. John’s Mullin addresses recruiting philosophy
By ADAM ZAGORIA
Ahead of a big recruiting weekend in which St. John’s coach Chris Mullin and his staff are expected to be at the Metro Classic at Kean University, Mullin addressed his philosophy about how often the head coach needs to be in attendance to see recruits.
Assistant coach Matt Abdelmassih has led much of St. John’s recruiting, and has been largely responsible for the team’s reliance on transfers, which I wrote about in this New York Times story.
Still, Mullin is an NBA and St. John’s legend and his presence at recruiting events is seen by some fans — and recruits — as important in the recruiting approach. He is expected on the sidelines at Kean as St. John’s targets Class of 2019 Montverde (FL) Academy wing Precious Achiuwa, who is also being courted by North Carolina, Kansas and UConn, among others. St. John’s will also watch Class of 2021 Our Saviour New American wing Jonathan Kuminga. Achiuwa and Montverde take on New Jersey powers Ranney (on Friday) and Roselle Catholic (on Saturday) and St. John’s is expected at both games, sandwiched around the team’s Saturday afternoon game with Providence at Madison Square Garden.
“We’ll probably be out this weekend,” Mullin said when I asked him about it on the Big East conference call on Thursday.
“As far as who’s at games, Matt heads all that up, our schedules. I’ve found over the course of time, it’s changed a little bit. I think it’s more quality time than quantity, and then being very transparent and having the right system, the right fit.”
Mullin said it’s important to find players who fit the system and who want to play at St. John’s, as opposed to chasing big-name, high-level prospects all the time.
“As you know, the transfer numbers are way, way up so that would tell me at some point they’re listening to the wrong thing or not really looking where they fit,” he said. “So across the board at every level, it really gets down to style of play, relationship with your coaches and teammates and are you going to play? So recruiting is the life blood of every program and I think you have to be transparent and realistic about what players fit your program. And not just chase.
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.