Recruiting happens all year for college basketball teams. And at St. John’s, the transfer window is always open, as players look for different approaches and more playing time in Queens.
This weekend, St. John’s will have both JUCO guard Cam Mack from Texas in for an official visit as well as newly-transferred North Carolina State forward Ian Steere. Both are interested in joining Chris Mullin’s St. John’s squad; can the Johnnies land a pair of commitments this weekend?
Cameron Mack | 6’3”, 170 lbs. PG
Cam Mack, currently at Salt Lake Community College, earned interest from the Johnnies and Washington State in the late summer, adding supposed interest from Texas Tech, Colorado, Oregon State and others. Mack is a 6’3”, powerfully build point guard with quickness and power.
This season, he has put up good numbers so far in JUCO play: 25 points, seven assists, six rebounds per game; 43% shooting from outside the arc (just under 50% of his shots are from deep), a 3:1 assist to turnover ratio.
Mack scored 40 points in a loss to Casper College, while adding five steals, seven assists and two turnovers in that losing effort.
Home schooled for his high school career, Mack ran with the Houston Defenders on the AAU circuit. He played scholastic ball with Aggieland HomeSchool in College Station, Texas, winning the National Christian HomeSchool Basketball Championship as a junior, before moving on to Christian Life Prep in Fort Worth.
He initially committed to Stephen F. Austin, but transferred to Hutchinson Community College before playing a game. He did not play at Hutchinson, sitting out a year, and went to Salt Lake, where he seems to have found his footing.
He will visit Sunday and Monday.
Ian Steere | 6’9”, 261 lbs. PF
Ian Steere, a North Carolinan, Noah Steere, played a single game for North Carolina State before he announced his intention to transfer. Steere, who was once committed to Creighton before decommitting, was ranked #140 in the 247 Sports Composite rankings and brings a big body to the court.
But at NC State, he was limited to five minutes in the opening game, stuck behind bigs Wyatt Walker and DJ Funderburk. For what it’s worth, Steere went 2-2 from the field in that single game and grabbed four defensive rebounds in five minutes (that’s a lot of activity for five minutes).
Steere and Caraher both attended Wesleyan Christian in 2016-17, and Steere transferred to Northwood Temple Academy after that season before NC State. Steere had previously played at the Carlisle School in Virginia. He is also the son of bodybuilder Noah Steere.
Ian Steere will need to finish his semester at NC State to remain eligible, and would try to transfer in December for the Spring semester; he would need to pay his own way for those months until another scholarship comes off the books (teams are limited to 13, and the Red Storm are at the limit).
After playing only five minutes, perhaps the Red Storm could get a waiver for Steere to play in the fall of next year, but mid-season eligibility is more likely.
He will visit Saturday and Sunday.
Certainly, two more talents on the roster would help offset likely losses next year. Marvin Clark II will graduate, while Shamorie Ponds and Mustapha Heron will both likely look at professional opportunities.
With likely at least three scholarships in play, if not more, the Red Storm can bring in these two players while leaving room for the still-available talent in the 2018 high school class, Kofi Cockburn and Precious Achiuwa.
The hope was that 2018 would bring more elite freshmen in. But, perhaps since the wins have not come, that has not happened.
Potential stars have chosen other programs to commit to, such as Aidan Igiehon (Louisville), Scottie Lewis (Florida), Jalen Gaffney (Connecticut), Al-Amir Dawes (Clemson), Jalen Hill (Oklahoma), Jaylin Williams (Auburn), and James Bishop (LSU).
For St. John’s, the on-court talent looks solid this year, thanks to a star recruit in Shamorie Ponds, a JUCO wing (LJ Figueroa) and a quintet of transfers — Marvin Clark II (from Michigan State), Justin Simon (from Arizona), Mikey Dixon (from Quinnipiac), Sedee Keita (via South Carolina), and Mustapha Heron (from Auburn).
But with likely departures, the Red Storm need a talented retooling by this time next season, The staff hopes these two players are big contributors to maintaining or elevating what progress is made this season.