St. John’s have been pursuing Luther Muhammad, a 6’4” shooting guard/ combo guard, for years.
The Hudson Catholic guard, who recently switched AAU teams from the Sports U team in the Under Armour circuit to the NY Rens in the Nike EYBL, will visit the St. John’s campus starting tomorrow as one of his official visits.
The guard, who has had strong interest from Chris Holtmann (now at Ohio State), Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Xavier, Seton Hall, South Carolina and Minnesota.
Per Made Hoops, what he is looking for is to “really... see the campus and see the college life there. I want to see the program and what they do as far as practice, training, education and everything else.”
From Zagsblog, we also see that the guard is making a transition to playing a pure point guard with the NY Rens, which may have been the reasoning for the switch in teams. Sports U has two high-level, unsigned point guards to showcase in Jahvon Quinerly and Atiba Taylor.
Muhammad is a solid outside shooter who can create his own jump shot. He hit 41% of his threes with Sports U this spring and 37% with the NY Rens, while assisting on more shots with his second team. He can create, and he can shoot.
At last week’s National Basketball Player’s Association Top 100 Camp, Muhammad continued to assist well while putting up a high steal rate and hitting 53% of his outside shots (and 92% at the line). He can create, shoot and make his free throws.
And though his steal numbers may not always obviously reflect it in summer league play, the high-level appeal of Muhammad is his defense.
Eric Bossi, lead basketball analyst at Rivals, talks about his potential as a lock down defender:
The shooting guard from New Jersey is an absolutely tenacious on-the-ball defender who can defend point guards, shooting guards and small forwards. Many times this spring I've seen opposing guards simply give up trying to beat him off the dribble or score on him and defer to other players. He's physical, he's nasty, he talks some trash and to me he is a high school version of Tony Allen.
And these clips from the top 100 camp - where top US players come together to compete, learn and prepare for a potential NBA future while being mentored by current NBA players - is a reminder that Muhammad brings multiple skills to any college he chooses.
He can create, shoot, hit free throws - and bring back that level of defense St. John’s used to be known for in the late 1990s.
For St. John’s a school that has struggled with defense in Chris Mullin’s first two seasons, players like Muhammad are an excellent way to stem the tide. The defense should get better, anyway, with the addition of a rebounder like Marvin Clark Jr. and a rangy defender in Justin Simon, plus the addition of Sedee Keita, eligible in 2018.
But a player like Muhammad, who plays multiple positions and can disrupt ballhandling, could elevate the defense and lead with even more grit and toughness.
The defensive IQ can only improve with a player who wants to attack opponents until he breaks their desire to keep trying to score on him.
St. John’s does, of course, have two excellent guards in Marcus LoVett and Shamorie Ponds, Justin Simon coming in with three years of eligibility along with Quinnipiac Mikey Dixon, who is a combo guard whose twitter handle is “pointgod3”.
Will that be too guard-heavy for Muhammad?
The Johnnies did prove that they can play and create with multiple ballhandlers, and there is a strong chance that some player will strongly consider pro options after this season, as Marcus LoVett did after last season.
Reportedly, Muhammad wants to make his commitment by the end of the summer. Ohio State will come hard for him, with a roster decimated by years of transfers and some mid-level recruiting that caused a June coaching change.
For what it’s worth, recent predictions have leaned toward Muhammad going to Notre Dame. But today, the Fighting Irish picked up a commitment from a guard named Robby Carmody (a top-100 guard) to go along with top-25 shooting guard Prentiss Hubb.
Does that change Muhammad’s decision?
We will find out.