Since accepting the St. John's head coaching position, Chris Mullin has consistently spoke about snagging the top talent in New York City to re-build a program that has ventured away from the area in year's past.
On Sunday evening, the first year coach landed his first major recruit from the city, receiving a commitment from four-star power forward Kassoum Yakwe over Dana Altman's Oregon Ducks.
"Coach (Steve) Lavin did a great job of recruiting me for three years," Yakwe told Andrew Slater of 247Sports.com, who first reported the news. "He deserves credit for helping me to learn about the school. My friend and teammate Felix Balamou has been great about helping me know what it's like at St. John's.
I built a really good relationship with the coaching staff since April. Matt (Abdelmassih) has been the lead recruiter and he's been recruiting me since Iowa State. Now, when he came back to New York, Matt's been recruiting me to St. John's. He's one of the main reasons why I chose St. John's, but I also liked the facilities and I wanted to stay local. Those are the main reasons."
Yakwe is attempting to reclassify in order to play this season, but that may not be a given as the Mali native attended Our Savior New American for high school. The school that is located in Centereach, NY has had players, like Cheick Diallo, who have had issues with NCAA eligibility.
If Yakwe is not a partial qualifier, the Red Storm will have a front court that features the 6'7" big man, Yankuba Sima, Amar Alibegovic, Christian Jones and Darien Williams.
In the worst case scenario, the Johnnies have locked up an elite shot blocker, a plus rebounder, an athletic freak, a hard worker and a growing offensive talent for the class of 2016.
This commitment may also help the program with 4-star guard and Brooklyn native, Shamorie Ponds, and one of the top JUCO recruits and Bronx native, Bashir Ahmed.