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.
Daniss Jenkins getting closer to playing for St. John’s this season
By ADAM ZAGORIADaniss Jenkins is not yet listed on St. John’s official 13-man basketball roster for the 2023-24 season, but head coach Rick Pitino expects him to be ready to go.
The 6-foot-4 Jenkins announced his transfer from Iona to St. John’s in April — becoming Pitino’s first transfer acquisition and the first of three from his former school. He is in the process of graduating Iona so he can become immediately eligible at the Big East school, where he would be the favorite to start at point guard.
“Yeah, he’s still in summer school and probably in the next two weeks we’ll have a read on that,” Pitino said this week by phone.
“I do [expect him to be on the roster].”
Last season under Pitino, Jenkins averaged 15.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists while shooting 41.8% from the field and 36.1% from 3. Before his lone season at Iona, Jenkins played two years of junior college ball at Odessa College in Texas. Because he’s a two-time transfer, he needs to graduate to become immediately eligible. Otherwise, he would need a waiver.
“Daniss Jenkins is a lightning quick guard who is a tremendous leader on and off the court,” Pitino said when Jenkins signed. “He is someone we will rely on heavily to lead us into next season.”
St. John’s most recently added Tennessee transfer Chris Ledlum, who would be the team’s 14th player — 12 of whom are new — assuming Jenkins graduates. A 6-foot-6 Brooklyn native, he averaged 18.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 1.8 steals last season at Harvard while shooting 47.3-percent from the field and being named first-team All-Ivy League.
“He looks good,” Pitino said. “He’s gotta get into a little bit better shape but that’s always been his MO but he looks good.”
Overall, Pitino, who has led five teams to the NCAA Tournament and three to the Final Four, likes what he’s seen from his team during summer workouts but hasn’t been blown away.
“We have 13 or 14 really good players,” he said. “Haven’t seen any greatness yet out of anybody but very deep, all very good basketball players and we just need to develop a few guys into the great category and that hasn’t been seen yet.”
He plans to play the 9-10 best players who earn playing time.
“Well, we’re gonna play 10,” he said. “Everybody’s got 13 players so they’re going to have compete and the best 9-10 players play. But you always have injuries.”
Pitino continued to rave about the stability and depth of the Big East amid massive college realignment that essentially saw the Pac-12 collapse in the last week.
“I just think the Big East, we got six teams ranked in the Top 20 and Georgetown and St. John’s are on the improve so it’s going to be a helluva conference,” he said.
“Very deep, very talented. Villanova will be back with a vengeance, certainly Creighton, Marquette, Xavier, Connecticut are all very, very strong.”
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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.