Many fans expected Coach Mullin and his young team to struggle in his first season. But one of Mullin's goals has been to actively court the best players in New York City. And at the Big Apple Basketball Invitational in New York City this past weekend, Chris Mullin and top assistant Barry "Slice" Rohrssen had their eyes on Rawle Alkins.
(So did others, such as Rick Pitino, seen here next to Chris Mullin in the embedded tweet below.)
Alkins was one of the first players Chris Mullin extended a scholarship offer to after assuming the head coaching role at St. John's. The Brooklyn native, who is playing his senior year in North Carolina, has St. John's among his final list of schools.
Alkins has thought about playing for Coach Mullin and believes the NBA legend can help improve his game.
"Chris Mullin is a legend," Alkins told the Rumble at the Big Apple Invitational. "A lot of people say he is probably the best three point shooter in the world. Many people claim that I need to work on my shooting. I assume that probably if I go there I will become a three point specialist."
St. John's fans and staff hope that the addition of four star prospect Shamorie Ponds will help attract Alkins to St. John's. Alkins and Ponds, who are both native New Yorkers, are friends from the AAU circuit.
"I talk to Shamorie Ponds and he is a really good guy and a really talented player. I thought he was going to be a McDonald's All American. I have talked to him a couple times, but at the same time my decision is my decision," Alkins said. "St. John's is definitely is the running."
While St. John's might not have had the recent success of a Kentucky or UNC, staying at home can be a factor in Alkins' decision.
However, no matter which school he chooses, the talented guard knows he will never truly be at home.
"It is fun to come back to New York and play in front of my friends and family," said Alkins. "I miss New York, but at the same time with the life I choose, I will always be away from home."
Alkins' team, Word of God Academy, lost to South Kent on Monday; and Alkins described his 5/12 shooting performance "disappointing." Still, Alkins is a shining prospect, athletic and filled with potential.