Perhaps Chris Mullin believes the key to a strong program is a steady line of big men, judging by the current recruiting priorities.
According to Adam Zagoria, head coach Chris Mullin and assistant coach Matt Abdelmassih visited big man prospects Precious Achiuwa (2019) and Isah Mohammad (2020), who just started at St. Benedict's High in New Jersey as transfer students. The 6'8" Achiuwa is the younger brother of former St. John's forward God'sgift Achiuwa and is ranked No. 22 in the 2019 ESPN 25.
Following those high-school visits, the coaches looked in on elite 2018 big man Naz Reid and 2019, 6'6" guard/ forward Khalil Whitney, offering Whitney on their visit. The 6'9" Reid has offers from Kansas, Syracuse, UConn, Rutgers (who are at the top of his mind right now) and St. John's. Whitney transferred from Chicago, leaving the North Lawndale community to move to New Jersey, where his father lives.
Chris Mullin and Abdelmassih were scheduled head to Miami, FL to see class of 2017 commit Zach Brown, the former UConn commit who committed to St. John's on July 21.
This past week, St. John's was set to host Moses Brown, the 7'1" Class of 2018 big man from Archbishop Molloy and New Heights in AAU, as well as 6'10" Class of 2019 big man Aidan Igiehon of Lawrence Woodmere Academy, an Irish import who has been in the states a couple of years.
An elite big man can be the cornerstone for any team but St. John's seems to be making a push for having a strong interior presence in general a priority.
Rising sophomore, Yankuba Sima (6'11") was St. John's lone center, leading the team in rebounds (even after sitting out a few games because of injury) with an average of 5.7 per game. Big East All-Freshman honoree Kassoum Yakwe (6'7") was not far behind, averaging 5.3 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, Mullin also has a pair of stretch forwards in 6'9" Amar Alibegovic and incoming forward Richard Freudenberg, who also stands at 6'9".
Adding Tariq Owens (6'11") this season as a redshirt sophomore and adding Zach Brown for next season will begin to build an impressive depth chart when it comes to big men.
Over the course of the next few seasons it will be interesting to see how Mullin and co. decide to use the big men throughout the course of the season.
The Red Storm's roster is gaining some depth and now it's going to come down to what the big men can do to help define the team - can they clean up around the rim? Will they be able to step out for jump shots? Will they be powerful interior presences offensively? How much will the big men be used on offense with a full roster? And will the way that Sima and Owens are used convince other big men that St. John's is the place to make their basketball dreams a reality?