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Recruiting updates: big impression from Kahlil Whitney, new offers for Gaffney, Cockburn, Igiehon

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Chris Mullin and the Johnnies have competition for their intended targets

Jalen Gaffney goes up
Kelly Kline/Under Armour

A look at some of the recruiting action around St. John’s top prospects for 2019, a class where the Red Storm hope to land a pair of high-impact players for the program.

But first, to address an issue that we have been asked about...

Of note, as some have commented on, was that the St. John’s staff spent their time last weekend on bringing in more talent for 2018 (LJ Figueroa and Eli Wright) — and were not seen at the events in Dallas where targets Kofi Cockburn, Kahlil Whitney and Jalen Gaffney played well and attracted more attention.

St. John’s has seen these three players before and done at-home visits with each; there’s a rapport there.

But the optics of not being there can be noticed by players who are particularly focused on the “babysitting” aspect of recruiting — of having coaches being front and center for a player.

It’s hard to say what affect missing a weekend could have. Logically, it shouldn’t mean anything; the player will fit or not fit, will feel a pitch resonate or not, no matter whether the coach is there or not. The Johnnies should not be in a position of seeing a 2019 player who would join the roster next season for the first time.

But in an environment focused on overt demonstrations of “hard work” (is it hard work to sit & watch kids play?), it’s a good thing for the staff to make their presence felt at many different events. And with the occasional surprise prospect popping up in future classes, it’s good to be out on the road seeing new players (if they were not).

Next week is another set of games, and we would expect to see Chris Mullin and the staff out on the prowl.

Recruiting updates

Decision day: 2019 guard Trey McGowens is announcing his college decision today, deciding between St. John’s, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Clemson and Mississippi. The 247 prediction is for Pittsburgh, where he received a recent offer and a home visit. McGowens unofficially visited St. John’s during the Big East Tournament.

New offers for top targets: St. John’s has pursued 6’2”, 150 pound guard Jalen Gaffney for some time now. The competition is getting stiffer: Xavier offered Gaffney yesterday.

Kofi Cockburn, the 6’11” big man who weighs in the vicinity of 300 pounds, received offers from Tennessee and Kansas.

Receiving those offers is not an end to the recruiting for Chris Mullin and the staff. Recruiting fit is always an issue, and both players could have a shot to play major minutes from the moment they step on campus.

Aidan Igiehon works through traffic
Kelly Kline/Under Armour

Also, Aidan Igiehon, the 6’10” center from Lawrence Woodmere, received an offer from Florida and said the four schools working hardest for him were Stanford, Oregon, USC and Louisville.

New offers for new targets: Despite not making a big in-person presence at last weekend’s events, the Red Storm made a pair of offers: to Mekhi Long, a 2019 forward from Maryland, and to 2021 guard Devin Askew.

Big impression: Kahlil Whitney, the 6’5”, 170 pound wing, made an impression with a 37 point game. From Rivals:

It wasn’t just a one-highlight contest weekend for Whitney though, as the 6-foot-5 forward showed the maturity that he had lacked in the past as he competed on each possession like it was the last second of the NBA Finals.

His thunderous dunks, thunderous barking methods as a defender in calling out screens and rotations, and the thunderous way that he goes about competing earned him the Thunder Award. He was also one of the top stock-boosters throughout the course of the weekend.