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St. John’s Basketball: Chris Mullin must focus on developing NBA talent

Producing NBA talent is vital to building a strong basketball program.

NBA: NBA Draft Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

St. John’s Red Storm basketball will forever be accompanied by a rich history. Dating back numerous decades, the Johnnies have routinely stacked their team with NBA level talent. Some professionals that played their college ball in Queens include Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin, Mark Jackson, Bill Wennington, Metta World Peace, among others.

Since the turn of the decade, professional talent out of St. John’s has been on the downfall. Only three Johnnies have participated in NBA action since 2010. This figure is down immensely and a poor sign for St. John’s.

Former St. John’s players to appear in a NBA contest by decade

Decade Number of Players
Decade Number of Players
2010-Present 4
2000-09 3
1990-99 9
1980-89 7
1970-79 5
Brendan Carducci

As coach Mullin works hard to rebuild the Red Storm program, developing professional talent has to become the main focus for this St. John’s staff.

Both coaches Mullin and Mitch Richmond had fantastic professional careers. Each garnered multiple awards and honors for their superb basketball ability. Mullin and Richmond know what it takes to be successful in the NBA, and both have strong ties to prominent figures still in the league. To maximize their effectiveness recruiting high school talent, both coaches should work to sell St. John’s a strong choice for aspiring professionals.

Above all, high school athletes want to play in the big leagues. Nothing is more appealing than a school that seems to be the best spot for an athlete to develop into a professional. John Calipari has mastered this recruiting tactic. He has turned Kentucky into an NBA factory. Calipari is so persuasive because he can sit down with a young athlete and show them players just like themselves that have gone to the NBA under his coaching staff. The same could be said about schools like Duke and Kansas.

The Johnnies look to be an improving program under coach Mullin. For the Red Storm to fully build up their program, they have to produce professional talent, and continually lure NBA level talent to Queens. Collectively as a coaching staff, St. John’s must sell themselves as an understanding of what it takes to be a professional and continue to develop strong relations with NBA coaches, scouts, and executives. With a number of ties and history both Mullin and Richmond have within the NBA, there is no reason St. John’s cannot be a regularly called school on draft night.