Around these parts, we have come to be occasionally fatalistic about St. John’s recruiting prospects until the team puts up a lot of wins. But how does a team put up a lot of wins without the players? Chicken, or the egg?
In sharp relief are the recruitments of Jalen Gaffney, who just committed to UConn, and the recruitment of 6’10” big man Aidan Igiehon, who has lived in Long Island for the last few years, moving over from Ireland to better his game.
Igiehon has been on the Red Storm’s radar for years, inviting him to games, having him on campus, and wooing the power dunking athlete, who happens to be in the top-50 of some of the recruiting sites.
But talented players attracted talented coaches. Louisville, in particular has been all over Igiehon in Chris Mack’s fist full recruiting class. Mack traveled to Ireland to see Igiehon recently, and is putting the full court press on the player.
But St. John’s might be right there, and might be able to convince the talented and athletic forward to be the missing part, the big man star this team needs after Shamorie Ponds likely leaves for the NBA after this season.
Perhaps Igiehon is the litmus test that Chris Mullin’s staff’s recruiting will be measured on. Or not; that is a dramatic way of thinking of a point in time, and about the decision of a teenager making a gigantic life decision, the kind of decision that most of us don’t get a chance to make.
After all, Igiehon’s choice will determine how he is exposed to the future decision makers in the NBA and overseas, what he will learn, where he will spend 1-5 intense years of his life mostly without his family, what people he will connect with and know for life.
The team could be good this year and next year even if they don’t land their top high school recruiting targets. It would be better to have Igiehon — a mobile forward who could operate off of talented scorers/ passers like Mikey Dixon and LJ Figueroa — on the Red Storm roster than not.
What has St. John’s pitch to Igiehon been?
From Pat Lawless for Prep Circuit:
They have been recruiting me since I was fifteen years old. They were after me when I was early in my development so they have seen potential in me. For three years I have built a good relationship with Chris Mullin and Coach Matt [Abdelmassih]. The main thing for me is being in New York once again for college. Chris Mullin has some great connections to the NBA and he played with and against great big men. He knows what I need to do to get to the NBA.