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Updated scholarship chart, the future of recruiting

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A look at the future of the Red Storm roster, how not bringing in Anthony Livingston could be a good thing and the crucial recruiting year coming up.

Malik Ellison defending Whitehead Wendell Cruz

With word that Amar Alibegovic is coming back to Chris Mullin and the Red Storm for his junior season, the Red Storm's recruiting for 2016 is done - and maybe 2017 as well.

Oh, you and I know, that's not how college basketball works; there is always flux. But still, if the program was going to tell a player for 2017 "here's how you fit", that player would reply with "I don't see my starring role."

And maybe that's fine. Maybe the staff is looking at a talented local 2018 class instead of holding a spot for someone like Jordan Tucker, who seemed lukewarm on the Johnnies last season when asked.

So what does the team look like moving forward?

First, a look at the scholarship chart:

#
Name
Pos
Ht
In
Wt
Hometown
Previous School
YR
17
18
19
20
21
0
Malik Ellison
G
6
6
205
Voorhees, NJ
Life Center Academy (NJ)
SO
x
x
x
3
Marcus LoVett
G
6
1
180
Fort Wayne, IN
Morgan Park (IL)
FR
x
x
x
x
4
Federico Mussini
G
6
1
160
Reggio Emilia, Ita.
Liceo Scientifico Aldo Moro
SO
x
x
x
11
Tariq Owens
C
6
10
190
Odenton, MD
Tennessee
SO
x
x
x
14
Kassoum Yakwe
F
6
7
205
Bamako, Mali
Our Savior New American (NY)
SO
x
x
x
35
Yankuba Sima
C
6
11
215
Girona, Spa.
Elev8 Institute (FL)
SO
x
x
x
45
Darien Williams
F
6
8
225
San Francisco, CA
CC of San Francisco
JR
x
x
1
Amar Alibegovic
F
6
9
235
Rome, Ita.
IT Minerva
JR
x
x
Shamorie Ponds
G
6
1
160
Brooklyn, NY
Thomas Jefferson HS
FR
x
x
x
x
Richard Freudenberg
F
6
8
190
Heidelberg, Ger.
Bayern Munich
FR
x
x
x
x
Bashir Ahmed
F
6
7
215
Bronx, NY
Hutchinson CC
JR
x
x
Marvin Clark Jr.
F
6
6
230
Kansas City, MO
Michigan State
RS
x
x
x
Justin Simon
G
6
5
200
Temecula, CA
Arizona
RS
x
x
x
x
Scholarships Used
13
13
10
4
0

Assuming this roster holds, there are no currently available scholarships for incoming players until the 2018 class. On the downside, that means there won't be any shiny new talents to obsess about, to imagine filling in the spaces in the Johnnies attack offensively and defensively, no recruiting class rankings to obsess over and no player to think of as the Future of St. John's basketball.

On the slight upside for the 2017-18 season, that also means that the team will be very familiar with each other at the beginning of that year, with a pair of transfers in Justin Simon and Marvin Clark to elevate the team's play.

And it also means there won't be a freshman who needs to get cursory minutes to be happy about his role - think of Dwayne Polee on the veteran squad in 2010-11 for Steve Lavin. After all, Mullin has said that he's not going to try and play 13 guys.

The pressure will be on Mullin's staff and Barry "Slice" Rohrssen to leverage the relationships they've forged into high-end recruits for the 2018 season. Those players will have the benefit of seeing what Mullin can do with an actual full roster of players he (mostly) recruited. And the benefit of seeing what the fruits of the offfseason development program are - one of the biggest selling points for Mullin.

(Also, let's keep in mind that with Simon and Clark's pedigree and skills, a player or two may decide to check out another program to get their fill of playing time. No shade on anyone, but each player still has the freedom to follow their dreams.)

In terms of the non-addition of Anthony Livingston from Arkansas State, we can consider that either the staff couldn't convince him to come (though given the lack of interest around his name except possibly from West Virginia, that seems unlikely) or that the staff somehow felt he wasn't a good fit.

We can't speak about off the court. But on the court, adding Livingston would mean fewer developmental minutes for the centers Yankuba Sima and Tariq Owens - or possibly for Richard Freudenberg and Darien Williams if healthy. (We are assuming Kassoum Yakwe will get a lot of time in this scenario.)

Realistically, signs point to next year as another developmental year- with a record much closer to .500 if not above. The leap from 8 wins to 20 (assuming an NIT team needs 20 wins and some luck to get into that tournament) is a big one, given the league.

It might happen. The team's improvement might not get all the way there. And that's ok.

The world is not coming to an end without Livingston.

The team improvement doesn't hinge on a big man who would share time with the players Chris Mullin and his staff are trying to develop.

Next season's improvement hinges on internal development, on players like Marcus Lovett and Shamorie Ponds being able to attack defenses and create open spaces for teammates, on a far better defensive effort, on strength in the post from the forwards and centers.

Next season's improvement depends on the team improving their skill finishing at the rim in light traffic.

It depends on better free throw shooting.

It depends on better knowledge of when and how to pass.

It depends on a leap from some combination of Kassoum Yakwe, Malik Ellison and Federico Mussini.

Improvement is slow and steady. Alibegovic's return doesn't change that either way; but as a team, improvement needs to happen in Year Two.

And the staff is fully aware of that.