Five-star wing Mackenzie Mgbako visits St. John's, Kansas up next | 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 / April 23.
  • Five-star wing Mackenzie Mgbako visits St. John’s, Kansas up next

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Five-star former Duke commit Mackenzie Mgbako has completed his weekend official visit to St. John’s and is headed to Kansas next week.

    At St. John’s, the 6-foot-8 Mgbako attended a concert, met with Rick Pitino and his staff and was also greeted by posters of himself in a St. John’s uniform.

    “Mackenzie has an incredible amount of upside for a kid who is already very skilled,” Roselle Catholic coach Dave Boff, who has won four New Jersey Tournament of Champions titles and coached five McDonald’s All-Americans, including Mgabko, told ZAGSBLOG.

    “His ability to score from all 3 levels combined with his size is truly a unique combination. I think in college he will continue to improve and only get better. I’m excited to see his continued development.”

    Led by Pitino, St. John’s got the first visit this weekend. Pitino is overhauling the roster after taking over and has already added five transfers, including three from his former school Iona in Daniss Jenkins, Cruz Davis and Quinn Slazinski, as well as former UConn guard Nahiem Alleyne and VMI transfer Sean Conway.

    The Red Storm are also in the mix for several other players, including Niagara transfer Noah Thomasson, who is set to announce May 10, and Oregon State transfer Glenn Taylor Jr., who announces Monday.

    Speaking during halftime of the Knicks game last Sunday at the Garden, Pitino said he has to “build a brand through your defense and through people who really want to be at St. John’s.”

    Kansas coach Bill Self, who owns two NCAA championship rings, sees Mgbako as a potential replacement for freshman Gradey Dick, an elite shooter who declared for the NBA Draft.

    Kansas has already added Towson transfer Nick Timberlake and Texas transfer Arterio Morris and remains involved for 7-foot Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson.

    Louisville and Indiana are slated to get visits.

    A McDonald’s All-American who also played for the World Team in the Nike Hoop Summit, Mgbako asked for his release from Duke earlier this month after freshman big man Kyle Filipowski announced he would return for his sophomore season, making Duke’s frontcourt even more crowded.

    The Blue Devils are also bringing back Mark Mitchell while adding incoming forwards T.J. Power and Sean Stewart in the 2023 class.

    Mgbako, who transferred to Roselle Catholic from Gill St. Bernard’s before last season, plays with the NJ Scholars Nike EYBL program. He is ranked the No. 2 power forward in his class by 247Sports.com. He initially chose Jon Scheyer and the Blue Devils over Ohio State, Kentucky and Memphis. Mgbako scored 13 points when the Lions won the Non-Public B state title over St. Rose on March 3.

    He averaged 16.3 points and 9.2 rebounds in 16 games en route to All-State honors this season at Roselle Catholic, the top-ranked team in New Jersey.

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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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