It's just about that time of the year again.
Chris Mullin and three other members of his staff will be on the road this July for three live recruiting periods beginning Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET. The Johnnies will take a peek at players from the class of 2017, 2018 and 2019, and could deal out a plethora of offers especially in the latter two years.
Coaches are able to attend the events (including the big tournaments: Peach Jam, Adidas Gauntlet and Under Armour All-American Camp), but are unable to talk to the prospects, their families or their AAU coaches. The staffs are simply their to evaluate, show their faces and get a good feel for who their priorities will be in the upcoming years.
This is an important time period for the Red Storm in particular because the only way to accelerate their rebuild is to continue to reel in talent that will help develop and improve the roster. The program doesn't have any scholarships available for the class of 2017, but they will continue to do their due diligence in case of a transfer, injury or a player that emerges that they feel can put their team over the top.
2018 is looking like a weaker overall class than 2016 or 2017, however, there is excellent local New York talent as well as capable players that can take their game to the next level when they are put under a steady coaching staff.
While some new targets will emerge in the next couple of weeks, here are the top players that St. John's will keep an eye on during these periods:
2017 Andre Rafus Team Melo
St. John's will almost certainly keep take a look at Mohamed Bamba, Brian Bowen, Hamidou Diallo and Billy Preston in the class of 2017, but it is unlikely that they will be able to land any one of those prospects due to the level of competition for their services.
One 2017 player that the Red Storm have had their sights set on for a while is Team Melo's Andre Rafus. The 6'8" power forward from Baltimore is currently labeled as a four-star recruit on ESPN's top 100 and has offers from Georgetown, Kansas, St. John's, UCLA, VCU, amongst many others. Rafus plays for Roselle Catholic High School in New Jersey so he is familiar with the New York area.
The power forward can really shoot it from beyond the arc, is developing his post moves on the block, and is a long, athletic player who is a force in transition.
2017 Sidney Wilson New Heights
Another 2017 prospect that the Red Storm have monitored despite having zero scholarships available is Sidney Wilson. The 6'6" small forward is a native of the Bronx, plays his high school basketball at St. Raymond, attended multiple St. John's games last season, and was in attendance for the program's Elite Camp last month.
Wilson visited Hofstra, Rhode Island and Oklahoma State in recent weeks, and has already seen the St. John's campus on multiple occasions, including an unofficial visit in October.
The forward has good versatility, length and athleticism, but must develop a more consistent three point shot and mid-range jumper. Also, adding some strength before he plays at the college level would be a huge plus as he could then guard multiple positions and play some power forward in smaller lineups.
2017 Hasahn French and 2018 Isaiah Mucius PSA Cardinals
Both French and Mucius play for the PSA Cardinals, but French is on the U17 team while Mucius plays at a lower age level.
French, a 6'7" power forward from Springfield, MA, is a three-star recruit, but has offers from Arizona State, Providence, Seton Hall, VCU, Nebraska, Minnesota and UMass, in addition to St. John's. He visited the Johnnies earlier this summer and took a trip to Saint Louis to visit Travis Ford and company unofficially.
The power forward has an old school game that relies on toughness, energy and power. French doesn't have great range on his jump shot, however, he is a good rebounder, is physical around the rim and can block shots defensively.
Meanwhile, Mucius is an intriguing 6'6" small forward, who is ranked 30th in ESPN's top 100 and is being coveted by Oregon, Penn State and Wake Forest. The Maryland native has good size, a solid frame and impressive instincts. Mucius relies more on his physical attributes than his skill at this point, but there is no question he would be an impressive get for the Red Storm two years from now.
2018 Naz Reid, Luther Muhammad, Louis King, Jahvon Quinerly Sports U
Sports U is loaded with quality talent and St. John's has been right in the mix for Reid, Muhammad, King and Quinerly from the beginning - along with Seton Hall and Rutgers.
Reid, who is the best player of the bunch, and Quinerly seem to be the Johnnies' top targets, although, it certainly won't be easy to reel them in.
Reid is fourth in ESPN's top 100 and has offers from virtually every high major school. He is an excellent passer and ball handler for his size, is a major mismatch problem, and is capable of taking the ball off the glass and leading his team on a fast break (similar to what Draymond Green was capable of doing in college and now in the NBA).
5'11" Quinerly is a really skilled lead guard with an tremendous feel for the game at a young age. He can shoot the ball, but more importantly, he can beat defenders off the bounce with his tight handles, and has the vision to make his teammates better.
Muhammad, a 6'4" guard who can play either spot in the backcourt, and King, a 6'7" four-star small forward, are also expected to be major contributors at the college level. Even though King has an offer from Kansas, these two may be more realistic targets for St. John's.
2019 Jalen Gaffney Team Rio
Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis are St. John's top targets from Team Rio, but both players are already blowing up with offers and they are still two to three years away from reaching their full potential as high school players.
Their teammate, Gaffney, stands at just 6'0", 150 pounds and has only two offers, Binghamton and St. John's. Mullin clearly sees something in the youngster that will help Gaffney develop into a top-100 player by the end of his high school career.
The lead guard is from New Jersey and certainly won't receive the same ink as Antoine and Lewis, but he is a good distributor and a solid ball handler at this stage in his basketball career.
Other hot targets:
New Heights' 2017 Isaiah Washington (6'0" point guard - four-star recruit)
Las Vegas Knicks' 2018 Greg Floyd (6'7" small forward - four-star recruit)
PSA Cardinals' 2019 Cole Anthony (6'1" point guard - 9th in ESPN's top 100)