The Red Storm are getting a transfer double this week, with Arizona guard/ wing Justin Simon following Marvin Clark's footsteps and moving to Queens, originally reported by Brandon Tierney and Jon Rothstein.
From the press release, Chris Mullin said "Justin is an explosive player who we believe will develop well in our program. He’s an instinctive playmaker with good court vision and he distributes the ball well."
In the press release, Simon says that "having the opportunity to play for a Hall of Famer who has surrounded himself with an incredible staff that is all about getting their guys better was a huge draw in my decision to continue my college career at St. John’s. I feel like I can reach my full basketball potential."
Simon, a 6'5", 185 pound guard from Temecula, CA, was a freshman at Arizona who chose to leave the program after seeing limited minutes this season - while realizing that more time would not be likely to come with hard work. The Arizona Wildcats prepare to welcome a trio of guards - former St. John's target Rawle Alkins, more highly-ranked Terrance Ferguson, and point guard Kobi Simmons - to a perimeter attack that also has NBA prospect Allonzo Trier, guard Kadeem Allen, and point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright.
Simon will sit out next season and have three years of eligibility left starting in 2017-18, joining Marcus LoVett, Richard Freudenberg, and Shamorie Ponds as sophomores next season. St. John's has one scholarship left to offer this offseason; graduate transfer Anthony Livingston, a big man, has been said to be a major target, and he will visit April 28-30.
When he left Sean Miller's Arizona program, Justin Simon said:
"I enjoyed my year at the University of Arizona. I would like to thank my coaching staff, teammates and the incredible fans here for all they did for me. My decision to transfer is centered on playing time. I would like a bigger role as a basketball player. Hopefully, I will be able to find this at my next program."
Our friends at Arizona Desert Swarm wrote this about Simon's departure:
Wherever he decides to go, Simon [has] shown that he could be a potentially great player at the D-1 level. It's just that the current roster structure at Arizona is not set up for his success in the short term.
Simon came to the Wildcats as a top-50 player who was considered a point guard, but was more coveted for his athleticism. His jump shot was a question, and continues to be an area for improvement. But Simon is an energetic slasher who shot 51% inside the arc, drew free throw attempts (46% free throw attempted/ field goal attempted ratio), blocked some shots, nabbed a few steals, grabbed some rebounds, didn't foul a lot and was known to be a passer with good vision in the open court.
As for next season, it looks as if the Johnnies will go with the ten players on the roster (possibly eleven if they land a grad transfer), allowing each to make their case for playing time going forward. Each year, the competition should improve for spots on the court, a step in the right direction for the Red Storm.