As promised, Head Coach Chris Mullin is trying to keep local prospects at home. Mullin succeeded with signing Kassoum Yakwe in August. Yakwe, a product of Our Savior New American (NY), chose to stay home and play for the Johnnies over attending Oregon; though his eligibility is still in question as the NCAA pores over transcripts from OSNY High. Having graduated a year early, Yakwe may redshirt.
How He Got Here
Yakwe is a local player from Our Savior New American School in Centereach, N.Y. in Suffolk County. He was born in Bandiagara, a small town in the Mopti region of Mali.
Already on the St. John's roster is Yakwe's former Our Savior New American teammate, junior Felix Balamou, who he told 247Sports was a factor in his recruitment.
Yakwe averaged 10 points and four rebounds last season and rated as high as No. 57 by major national recruiting services. A notable star in the AAU circuit, Yakwe was named the 2015 Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) Regular Season Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 3.1 blocks and 6.3 rebounds over a span of 15 games for the PSA Cardinals. He dominated the defensive end at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam, averaging 5.8 blocks and 11.8 boards per game to earn All-Tournament Second Team recognition.
What He Brings to the Table
Yakwe would help the Johnnies immensely on the defensive end. His strong defensive presence in the post would create a solid foundation for the otherwise brand-new Red Storm roster. Rivals.com rated the talent shot-blocker and rebounder as the No. 57 recruit in the 2016 class; his athleticism and rebounding will end possessions, and major colleges love the potential and motor he has.
"We are excited to welcome Kassoum to St. John's University and our basketball program, said Coach Mullin in the school's announcement of his signing. "He possesses tremendous athleticism, has good instincts and will be a defensive presence."
Where He Fits In
At this point, Yakwe has yet to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
If he is able to play this season, Yakwe will most definitely provide a spark on the defensive end of the ball.