Chris Mullin already has the number one 2016 recruiting class in the Big East but he won't be adding former Christ The King small forward and current Word of God Academy prospect Rawle Alkins. The five-star talent, who is ranked 17th in ESPN's top 100, is heading to Arizona to play for Sean Miller over the Johnnies, UNLV, North Carolina and North Carolina State.
The Brooklyn native took his first official visit to Queens at the end of January as he watched the Johnnies get defeated by Villanova. He also took in the New York Knicks-Golden State Warriors game from a suite and met Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr postgame. Alkins took his most recent official to Tuscon and clearly loved the national relevance (the Wildcats often play on national television) and unique atmosphere.
Alkins is a powerful, athletic forward with emerging defensive skills and the ability to score at all three levels of the floor. He welcomes contact when attacking the rim, has the capabilities to play above the basket and can make an impact in transition.
Alkins will now team up with Allonzo Trier (if he doesn't decide to take his talents to the NBA), his good friend and fellow five-star recruit Kobi Simmons and Finland native Lauri Markkanen. Also, the Wildcats could receive a potential season changing commitment from Josh Jackson (number three on ESPN's top 100), who cut his list down to Arizona, Michigan State and Kansas.
While the Johnnies certainly could have used Alkins services to chase an NCAA Tournament berth next season, the forward is looking at a possible one-and-done career. He would have drastically improved the team but it also says something about Mullin and his staff that the Johnnies were able to remain in the mix this long with many other proven programs chasing the future NBA prospects' services.
Even without Alkins, St. John's has plenty of talent joining Federico Mussini, Malik Ellison, Yankuba Sima, Christian Jones, Darien Williams, Kassoum Yakwe and Amar Alibegovic next year. Shamorie Ponds, Bashir Ahmed and Richard Freudenberg are the incoming recruits while Marcus LoVett and Tariq Owens will be eligible to give the Johnnies a true lead guard and more length.
The Red Storm have one scholarship remaining as they are in the mix for five-star center Thon Maker and have recently focused on five-star shooting guard Terrance Ferguson. Assistant coach Matt Abdelmassih is always active on the transfer market so expect St. John's to explore all avenues in order to upgrade the strength on their roster.