What seemed like a month of quiet recruiting for classes two years in the future has yielded at least two new offers on prospects for Chris Mullin's squad that we know of in the 2017 class.
We know that St. John's is after the PSA Cardinals' burly forward Hasahn French of Middletown, NY, but the Johnnies seem to be looking at a few other players as well. Both of the new offers play for Under Armour AAU teams. Under Armour is hosting the UA Association sessions this week, and St. John’s has staff checking out the talent there.
The first and bigger name is L.J. Figueroa, a 6'5" 180 pound guard/ wing who is a top-100 player (64 by 247 Sports, 54 in Scout) with a long wingspan. Lionel “L.J.” Figueroa is a Dominican Republic native who has offers from the likes of Florida, Louisville, Miami and South Florida and played at Oldsmar Christian High School but will play at West Oaks High in Orlando for his senior year.
L.J. Figueroa Video
L.J. Figueroa Interview
Clifton Moore, Jr. 2017 F
The other offer is a fast-rising forward from the Philadelphia area named Clifton Moore, Jr. He's a 6'9", 190 pound small forward who has piled on low to mid-major offers since April while playing for the Hoopdreamz AAU squad (he plays high school ball for for Hatboro-Horsham High).
"Watching him at the Elevate Hoops Icebreaker on Thursday night, it’s clear to see what has programs at all levels of D-I hoops extremely intrigued. Not many players at any level are as smooth at his height, and though he’ll have a lot of work to do in the weight room once he gets to college, his face-up game and general upside are unmistakable.
“Right now I’m just focusing on going at people, going my hardest,” he said. “(Hoopdreamz coach Jonathan Michels) said definitely show them your motor, show them your aggressiveness, go 100 percent all the time.”
Here is what a search for video on Moore came up with. We believe he's #24 in white. It's not a particularly easy to follow video.
So, what's the deal? Isn’t St. John’s out of scholarships after bringing in Justin Simon and Marvin Clark, Jr., as transfers and welcoming back Amar Alibegovic?
Sure, of course they are. But things - which we will not necessarily speculate too deeply on without knowledge - can change in a flash. There are possibly five guards vying for two spots; one of those players could choose to transfer. There are forwards who may choose to seek more playing time at other institutions.
We don’t know how many slots there will be, or whether the Johnnies will accept a commitment in the early period despite being at the scholarship limit.
But we know they are being aggressive.
Figueroa would add a shooting/ scoring dimension to St. John’s and provide a future star for the squad as players like Federico Mussini and Marcus LoVett near the end of their eligibility. Moore looks to follow a pattern that Chris Mullin seems to like, that of the floor-spacing stretch-four, a forward who can defend inside (once he puts on weight), run, and shoot from the perimeter.
Perhaps these offers are an insurance policy in case a player chooses to leave. Or these could be the precursor to an end-of-season roster shakeup and scholarship class rebalancing that could be strongly needed.