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.
St. John’s goes three deep for Precious Achiuwa as Montverde routs Ranney
By ADAM ZAGORIAUNION, N.J. — St. John’s views Precious Achiuwa as the final piece to its 2019 recruiting class that currently includes several transfers.
So Chris Mullin and assistants Mitch Richmond and Greg St. Jean sat courtside Friday night at Kean University as Achiuwa went for 13 points and 6 rebounds, including at least one rim-rattling dunk, as Montverde Academy, No. 4 in the USA Today poll, destroyed No. 11 Ranney, 89-51, before a capacity crowd.
Achiuwa was one of three McDonald’s All-Americans honored before the game, along with Villanova-bound Bryan Antoine and Florida signee Scottie Lewis of Ranney.
“I’ve known those guys a pretty long time, we’re pretty much from the same area,” the 6-foot-9 Achiuwa told me after the game. “I’ve been playing against them since eighth grade and I think it’s great seeing the same guys from when we’re really young and we somewhat achieved our dream of making the McDonald’s All-American Game.”
The game was a homecoming for both Achiuwa and Montverde coach Kevin Boyle, who won five New Jersey Tournament of Champions titles at St. Patrick High School, where he coached players like Kyrie Irving, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Dakari Johnson and Al Harrington.
“I’m pretty much from New York so it also feels good for me to come back and get a win in this city,” added Achiuwa, who spent five years in The Bronx and attended St. Benedict’s Prep before transferring last summer to Montverde. “I went to school here and I know a lot of people from New York/New Jersey so it feels godod to come back and win.”
Achiuwa, whose older brother, God’sgift Achiuwa, played for former St. John’s coach Steve Lavin, but Precious has said that won’t necessarily impact his own decision. North Carolina, UConn and Kansas are among those also involved.
He did notice Mullin and the staff sitting courtside. (Assistant Matt Abdelmassih was also on hand for the early game featuring Class of 2021 wing Jonathan Kuminga of Our Saviour New American.)
“Yeah, I did,” Achiuwa said. “It just shows their commitment and how much interest they show towards me as a player. It depends. There’s a lot that goes into it, I don’t know what to say.”
He added: “[My brother] has nothing to do with my decision, it depends on what’s the right fit for me. Me and my brother, we don’t have to take the same path. It’s just what’s the right fit and wherever I can go to get my game better and hopefully take it to the next level.”
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.