Where do Rick Pitino and St. John's stand with the Transfer Portal? | 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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Wednesday / February 28.
  • Where do Rick Pitino and St. John’s stand with the Transfer Portal?

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Rick Pitino is hitting the Transfer Portal hard.

    At his introductory news conference last week, Pitino said he planned to add 6-8 new players to a St. John’s roster he would build around returning big man Joel Soriano.

    “I need guys who can shoot the basketball, not get fatigued, get after it defensively,” he said. “We’re probably going to have to bring in 6-8 players for this basketball team and that’s going to take a lot of work.”

    He added that there would be turnover on the current St. John’s roster.

    “A lot of players probably won’t be back on this team because they’re probably not a good fit for me,” he said. “…It takes a certain type of player to play for me…and if you’re not, it’s just not a good fit, it just doesn’t work.”

    Here’s where St. John’s stands with several of its top transfer targets:

    **Iona sophomore guard Walter Clayton Jr. will visit St. John’s on April 6 — following the Final Four — after visiting Florida this past weekend, he told ZAGSBLOG.

    As for Florida’s message, the Florida native said: “Basically it’s home, they have all the resources needed for me to develop my game and take it to another level. I’ll be able to come in right away and make an impact.”

    Clayton averaged 16.8 points and 3.2 assists playing for the Gaels as they won the MAAC regular-season and tournament titles before losing to UConn in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

    **Pitino and assistant Steve Masiello tripped to Massachusetts Monday to meet with Towson transfer Nick Timberlake and Harvard transfer Chris Ledlum.

    “Coach Pitino [has] basically been saying he wants me to help him change St. John’s hoops back to its winning ways,” the 6-foot-4 Timberlake said by text before the visit.

    Timberlake is a a two-time All-CAA selection who averaged 17.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 42% from three. He scored 30+ points three times, including a season-best 34 against College of Charleston.

    “The skillset I can bring is my shooting ability and toughness,” he said. “When I’m playing well feel like I’m just in a free mode and the game comes easy to me at those points.”

    Several other schools, including North Carolina, are involved.

    As for Ledlum, the 6-6 forward from Brooklyn averaged 18.8 points and 8.5 rebounds last season at Harvard. He completed visits over the weekend with Indiana coach Mike Woodson and Iowa coach Fran McCaffery that both went well, a source said.

    **St. John’s has also shown interest in Temple transfer Zach Hicks, a 6-7 sophomore from Camden, N.J. who averaged 9.6 points and 5.1 rebounds last season, and T.J. Bamba, a 6-5 Washington State transfer who’s from The Bronx. As a junior, he averaged 15.8 points and 3.7 rebounds last season.

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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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