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St. John’s pursues 2018 hoops targets at AAU events this weekend

The recruiting season begins in earnest, in search of the next generation of Red Storm stars

Naz Reid handles the ball against Team Rio’s Scottie Lewis
Kelly Kline/ Under Armour

For St. John’s, the recruiting of local talent has been a constant; but the classes of 2018 and 2019 have long been the focus for Chris Mullin, Matt Abdelmassih and the staff.

The better programs land their main targets before the fall signing season, allowing them to recruit strategically to fill late gaps in the spring.

So this is the weekend to show the players all the love they need in this Spring recruiting period, following their games and letting the players know who is first priority... and hopefully earning a commitment by the end of the summer.

Chris Mullin is currently sidelined after a hip surgery, so Matt Abdelmassih will be on the road, as will Director of Basketball Operations Dejan Matic. Matic, a former AAU coach and college assistant/ recruiting coordinator, will be in Dallas, while Abdelmassih, the head recruiter, will start in New York City.

In downtown Manhattan at Basketball City, near the South Seaport, the major names St. John’s has been chasing will all be on display at the Under Armour session.

Sports U’s squad includes guards Luther Muhammad, Jahvon Quinerly and center Naz Reid. St. John’s has pursued Reid and Muhammad with vigor. In the eyes of some recruiting experts, both are strongly interested in St. John’s. Muhammad is considered a top-50 recruit, and Reid, who received an in-home visit from Kentucky this week, is thought to be a top-20 recruit.

Luther Muhammad for Sports U
Kelly Kline/ Under Armour

The high-level guard duo of Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine will be on the floor for Team Rio, and those two hope to earn attentions from the likes of Duke. That, of course, won’t hold St. John’s back from making the pitch about being hometown heroes.

According to the schedule, that game is on ESPN at 8:20, so set your smartphones accordingly.

New Heights has wing Precious Achiuwa in the class of 2019 (an athletic wing, a top-30 recruit, and yes, God`sGift Achiuwa’s brother) plus Moses Brown in 2018 (a center who is a top-20 recruit in many recruiting services).

St. John’s is said to be pursuing KJ Hymes from Nevada and Nasir Little from Florida, as well, who may be playing in Adidas (Dallas) and Nike (Hampton, VA) sessions.

Recruiting is a long, slow process, and this is the year that the staff hopes to see results, the kind of players that can continue to elevate St. John’s in 2018-19.