Chris Mullin was chasing after two monster 2016 recruits but with Rawle Alkins heading to the Arizona Wildcats, it looks like St. John's will be on the outside looking in for 7'0" center from Canada, Thon Maker.
While the five-star recruit did visit the Johnnies unofficially and is fond of New York, Maker has three official visits lined up and none of them are to St. John's. According to SNY, the Athlete Institute Basketball Academy prospect will visit UNLV on March 18, Arizona State on April 18 and Notre Dame on April 25, which will be in addition to the recent official he took to Kansas.
Maker also took an unofficial to Indiana but Tom Crean and company do not have another visit lined up at this point.
Ed Smith, Maker's guardian, told SNY that the future NBA talent will be set to make a decision sometime in April while Maker said he just wanted to "get it (the decision) out off my chest."
UNLV fired head coach Dave Rice during the season but they are likely to lose freshman big man Stephen Zimmerman to the NBA Draft and don't have great depth in the front court with just Dwayne Morgan, Ben Carter (coming off a torn ACL) and former St. John's center Chris Obekpa manning the middle.
Arizona State should be a front runner along with the Jayhawks as Maker's cousin, 2017 prospect Daniel Mading, is already committed to Bobby Hurley. The Sun Devils had solid athleticism in the interior this year but will lose Willie Atwood and Eric Jacobsen while returning Savon Goodman and Obinna Oleka.
Finally, Notre Dame will lose Zach Auguste and the opportunity to play in a national relevant league in the ACC could be a difference maker. The Irish aren't normally known for their big men so reeling in Maker would be a coup for Mike Brey and company.
Regardless of where Maker commits, he is likely a one and done type of player and would duplicate what Mullin already has in house. While Maker has unique skills for a big man and has been compared to Kevin Durant, the Johnnies need toughness in the interior and can always use the transfer market to land a physical forward/center.
Maker also has eligibility questions so while it would be excellent to receive a commitment with as much potential as the Sudan native, this is not exactly the end of the world for the Red Storm.