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St. John’s Kassoum Yakwe to transfer

Yakwe will graduate this summer and move on.

Kassoum Yakwe defends
Wendell Cruz

Kassoum Yakwe, the 6’7” forward whose time and productivity dipped in each season at St. John’s, will transfer, the school announced today.

Yakwe will be eligible as a graduate transfer next season, after earning his bachelor’s degree this summer.

“St. John’s University is a great place that I have had the privilege to call home for the past three years,” said Yakwe in the school’s statement. “I would like to thank our coaching staff and administration for all of their support and for affording me opportunities to experience personal growth on and off the court. This wasn’t an easy decision, but at this time I feel it is best for me.”

“Kassoum will always be part of the St. John’s basketball family and we wish him much success in his future,” said St. John’s Head Coach Chris Mullin. “We appreciate all of the contributions he made to our basketball program. Kassoum is a wonderful young man with an endearing personality and has a bright future ahead.”

Kassoum Yakwe attacks vs Molloy
Wendell Cruz

Yakwe, who played a total of ten game minutes in February and March this season, even in games where injuries reduced the Johnnies to six players and walk-on Justin Cole, was widely expected to transfer.

Still, it is a quiet end to the promise of a young player ranked in the top-100 in some scouting services who chose the Johnnies over Oregon. Yakwe reclassified to the 2015 class to join Chris Mullin’s first team.

After getting his eligibility cleared up (Our Savior New American had some issues getting classes cleared by the NCAA), Yakwe emerged as a starter and an All-Big East Freshman, scoring a career-high 16 against Seton Hall and leading the Johnnies in shots blocked.

His second and third years, however, saw his effectiveness at scoring and rebounding dip. He took far fewer shots as the Johnnies played a faster pace and did not run post up plays for him. Yakwe started 31 of 33 games in 2016-17, but could not reach the potential of his freshman year.

His ability to run the floor, block shots, and throw down in transition will be helpful to other programs.

Kassoum Yakwe will not get to play with his Malian countryman, Boubacar Diakite, who is healing from a knee injury and will be eligible next season. Diakite also played at Our Savior New American.

St. John’s will have three scholarships to use this offseason, and some depth to build.

Next year’s roster, so far:

G: Shamorie Ponds, Justin Simon, Mikey Dixon, Bryan Trimble Jr., Greg Williams

W/F: Marvin Clark II, Boubacar Diakite

F: Sedee Keita, Josh Roberts, Marcellus Earlington