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Federico Mussini leaves St. John’s for pro opportunity in Italy

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The explosive Italian guard moves on. (Updated with quotes)

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Butler Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Sophomore guard Federico Mussini, who came from Italy to play at St. John’s, will be leaving the program after two seasons.

Reports in late May indicated that his youth club, Reggio Emilia, wanted him to return to play for their senior club. Mussini was back in New York this week, but will return to Italy to play.

“I believe I am ready to take the next step in my career and play professionally back in Europe,” Mussini said in a press release.

“It was an honor to wear a St. John’s jersey for the last two years,” said Mussini in a press release. “This was an incredible experience for me to be a part of such a great university in New York City. I want to thank Coach Mullin and the entire coaching staff for everything I learned from them. I also want to thank all the St. John’s fans for their support at Carnesecca Arena and Madison Square Garden.”

“We are supportive of Federico’s decision and wish him the best of luck,” said St. John’s Head Coach Chris Mullin. “It was a pleasure to coach Federico for the last two years. He represented our program well both on and off the court. Federico is a terrific person and a model teammate with a bright future ahead.”

The 6’1” guard was an improving piece to the backcourt who hit 112 career three-pointers in his two years. In his first season, he played 30 minutes per game, but wore down late in the season and struggled as the team’s primary point guard.

With the additions of Marcus LoVett and Shamorie Ponds, however, Federico Mussini enjoyed better shooting percentages overall. He was able to hit outside shots in bursts last season while enjoying a more limited role for the Johnnies, playing 20 minutes per game.

Mussini started with a 20-point flare against Bethune-Cookman, was quiet in the box scores in November, and then burst out with a strong December. But an illness seemed to rob him of his ability to find shots within the flow of the game, and he was held to single-digit points for much of the rest of the year.

He shot just under 38% from outside the arc in conference play - a strong mark - but only 37% inside the arc.

Mussini’s departure comes in a year where his role would likely be further in flux. Transfer Justin Simon will come on the floor and log major minutes as an athletic combo guard. And while Simon’s shot may not be as sublime as Mussini’s (from what we know), Simon brings height and defense - two skills Mussini does not.

Still, a backcourt of Shamorie Ponds, Marcus LoVett and Justin Simon is a bit thin. If an injury occurs, the team will struggle to find other options (which may be why a guard named Bryan Trimble is on campus for a visit).

St. John’s will miss the Italian guard, always hard working and quick with the shot when at his best, and we at the Rumble wish Mussini the best of luck in his professional endeavors.

“I will never forget this experience,” said Mussini, “and I am sure that my teammates will have very successful seasons ahead. I will always support them and the St. John’s basketball program.”

Mussini is signed with Italian agents Sigma Sports.