Rick Pitino hits the ground running on building program at St. John's | Zagsblog
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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.
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Tuesday / July 16.
  • Rick Pitino hits the ground running on building program at St. John’s

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    On his first full day on the job at St. John’s, Rick Pitino hit the ground running as he aims to rebuild the Red Storm program.

    Pitino and his staff targeted a mix of current St. John’s players, transfers and high-profile recruits.

    **Pitino and assistant Steve Masiello were at Archbishop Stepinac in White Plains for a 3:45 practice to watch Class of 2024 point guard Boogie Fland and Class of 2025 point guard Danny Carbuccia

    “Coach Pitino and Masiello expressed to Boogie, Coach Swain and myself how much he is a priority to them,” Stepinac coach Pat Massaroni said by text. “In addition to Boogie, getting kids from the tri-state, specifically New York, that fit into playing for Coach Pitino.

    “Coach made a clear message to Boogie that he is the main priority after assembling the team for next year – the 2024 class.”

    Ranked the No. 2 combo guard in 2024, Fland holds offers from a slew of high-majors including Kentucky, North Carolina,, Alabama, Auburn, UConn and Florida. He visited North Carolina in October.

    **St. John’s will also be at Cardinal Hayes next week, the school that features Class of 2024 shooting guard and North Carolina commit Ian Jackson and Class of 2024 big man Stephen Solano. Hayes is the alma mater of former Kentucky star Jamal Mashburn, who played for Pitino at Kentucky.

    Jackson has verbally committed to North Carolina, but hasn’t signed yet because he’s a junior.

    **St. John’s assistant Van Macon visited Class of 2023 commit Brandon Gardner on Wednesday at school. Pitino and Masiello are also expected next week.

    “There’s no question in my mind that these guys are going to get this done,” CTK head coach Joe Arbitello said by phone. “That staff and Rick Pitino, 100 percent.”

    **The Johnnies offered Carter Bryant, the No. 4 overall prospect in the 2024 class. Bryant had recently announced he was down to Arizona and Louisville.

    **St. John’s also offered Dink Pate, the 4-star shooting guard from Lancaster (TX) who is also being courted by Arkansas, Auburn, Alabama, Memphis, Georgetown, and TCU, among others.

    **After only bringing St. John’s big man Joel Soriano to his press conference on Tuesday, Pitino also asked freshman shooting guard AJ Storr to remain next season, per Roger Rubin of Newsday.

    Meantime, sophomore guard Rafael Pinzon entered the portal.

    **St. John’s will also be active in the portal, and transferring Iona guard Walter Clayton Jr. is among those considering the Red Storm. Clayton averaged 16.8 points and 3.2 assists this season for the Gaels, who won the MAAC regular-season and tournament titles.

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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.

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