This spring recruiting for St. John’s has had one solid success (the transfer of Mikey Dixon). But the spring recruiting has not paid off in finding a big man to provide size inside for the Johnnies, a late need now that the former center commit is once again in legal trouble (and released from LOI) and Darien Williams has transferred.
And yet, Sidney Wilson, a 6’6” local wing with hops and talent, is said to be looking at St. John's after he reclassified from 2018 to 2017.
2017 forward Sidney Wilson will visit UConn on Thursday, per a source. Visits St. John's next week. Syracuse and Texas also in mix. #SJUBB— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 10, 2017
Wilson played at St. Raymond’s (NJ) and for New Heights on the AAU until last year, where he transferred to Brewster Academy and planned to reclassify for 2018. He was recruited by St. John's in the past, but seemed to drop off the radar in favor of the likes of UConn and Syracuse and now Florida. But there St. John's is, back in the mix - amidst some cascading wing player drama.
When players decide to transfer or go to the professional ranks, coaches find themselves "scrambling" for talent to fill the gaps - even if that talent wasn’t a player the coach was seriously considering extending an actionable scholarship offer to.
The more deliberate fall process is where a player has been courted and cultivated for months or years and makes a logical decision based on the best evidence of playing time and fit. In the spring, a player can be courted for weeks and realize that they can go to a more prestigious program, to a team with a chance of playing in the Final Four, to a team that professional scouts often watch.
With that in mind, here is a story.
There is an elite player named Kevin Knox, a wing, who was predicted to go to Duke. He's a five-star, top-15 prospect.
Another wing, Jordan Tucker - a White Plains wing that St. John's chased, only to get the chilliest of responses publicly - seemed to be in line to go to Syracuse.
Sid Wilson looked to be working on options, with UConn looking like a possible landing spot, among others.
Hameir Wright, a 6'7" wing from Albany, is another wing looking at options witrh Villanova and Michigan State taking a look, along with St. John's.
(We could also mention point guard Trevon Duval - who is looking at Duke - and wing Brian Bowen, a top-25 wing who is considering schools, including DePaul.)
Kevin Knox committed to Kentucky, a school with two other wing players in Hamidou Diallo from Queens and Jarred Vanderbilt. It's Kentucky, and apparently John Calipari can swing a commitment fairly quickly despite being considered in the back of the competition. So Duke, all of a sudden, is interested in Jordan Tucker, a player who seemed to be choosing between Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Oregon.
So where does that leave Syracuse, Florida and possibly Georgia Tech?
Sidney Wilson becomes more of a priority. As does Hameir Wright. Which means that St. John's has stiffer competition, with more desperate arguments, than before.
For all we know, Wilson really likes the style St. John's plays or wants to stay home. Or he wants to improve his shooting with Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond. This all might be moot.
But the spring recruiting is always wild.
For St. John's, spring recruiting has been both quiet... and dramatic, as some of our readers and commenters know.
A few players who could have helped the team's interior defense and rebounding issues have chosen to go to other programs, while other Big East schools are landing players.
In part, the Johnnies have the problem of having a fairly set starting five, and a player who can be lured by immediate playing time would have to beat out the impactful Tariq Owens inside or the guard duo of Shamorie Ponds and Marcus LoVett.
But on a team that, at the moment, has nine available players, a pair of injuries leaves the squad in a tough place. And the deficiency from last year in defensive rebounding, in particular, is an issue that will likely require a personnel change, not just Marvin Clark.
Or maybe he is good enough to hold down the rebounding for the team. We don’t know yet. Spring recruiting is wild.