In the beginning, there are recruiting offers.
There are always offers in the beginning of a new head coach’s tenure, offers that speak to the current needs and the future aspirations. Unlike the last time St. John’s introduced a new coach, however, there is a returning roster. That factor makes Mike Anderson’s (and now Associate Head Coach TJ Cleveland’s) job perhaps a bit easier.
There are holes to fill.
- We do not know whether LJ Figueroa will return.
- The Red Storm had a point guard issue even when Cam Mack was signed and fans thought Justin Simon would return. Mack is only one player — and an unknown, while Simon’s ability to protect the ball continues to need improvement.
- Especially until the end of the semester, when Ian Steere is eligible, size will still be an issue.
- Even when things look stable, a new coach and returning players can decide they are a poor fit, all the way up to the beginning of the season.
The Red Storm need to prioritize point guard help to go along with Greg Williams Jr. and possibly Eli Wright. Additional athleticism will allow Anderson to apply more consistent pressure on defense.
And size will allow the Johnnies to compete on the backboards — adding possessions on offense and ending possessions on defense— in a way they have not in 10 years.
The last two coaching changes happened in late March/ early April, allowing coaches to jump on some late targets. With Mike Anderson looking for talent in May, expect upside picks, depth players, and perhaps a player that the staff takes a flier on developing.
This late in the recruiting game, few players are uncovered, but sometimes, as in the case of Siena’s Jalen Pickett, there are good players who simply need a different situation.
A look at the players St. John’s was said to have seen this week.
Johnathan McGriff, PG
Year: 2019 | School: Bishop McNamara (MD), Team Thrill AAU MD (Under Armour)
The Red Storm have offered point guard Johnathan McGriff of Maryland. He said, in a now-deleted tweet, that he would be committing to a college in two days. Some pundits seem to think it will be to St. John’s.
McGriff, who holds offers or interest from Northwestern, Michigan, and Southern Illinois is a small point guard with flashy handles and quickness.
McGriff is listed as 5’11” by Huntington Prep and in the Nike EYBL circuit. His numbers from 2018 show a solid steal rate and assist rate, plus an ability to get to the line last year with Team Melo (he is now playing for Team Thrill). But his shooting — 40% on twos, 0/3 on threes — will need work.
Chris Maidoh, SF/PF
Year: 2019 | School: Scotland Campus Sports School (PA) (prep year)
Maidoh visited St. John’s unofficially this week. He is slim but looks able to run with Anderson’s system. There is interest from UMass and Cincinnati, among others.
Maidoh, who originally played at Parkdale High in Maryland, looks to be a still-developing big man, who may have grown in the past year. Listed at 6’7” in high school, he is now listed at 6’10”.
Glen Anderson, PG
Year: 2019 | Brooklyn Collegiate
Undersized but effective, Glen “JoJo” Anderson has offers from Bryant, Iona and Howard. More on him from Dave’s Joint.
Amadou Traore, PF
Year: 2019 | Next Level Prep 2019, Brooklyn Collegiate 2018
Size: 6’7, 235
Traore, signed by Niagara in the Fall signing period but now open after the coaching change at the MAAC school, has a strong-looking body and the ability to run the floor. Niagara felt he moved his feet well and had good upside to his game. A late bloomer from Mali, he also attended (but was stuck on the bench at) St. Raymond HS.
Kadary Richmond PG/ SG
Year: 2020 (2019?) | South Shore HS, Mass Rivals AAU (adidas)
Size: 6’5”, 175
Kadary Richmond is a player who is rumored to be able to reclassify to the 2019 class — meaning he could, theoretically, be eligible next season. TJ Cleveland has reached out to him, but UConn and Seton Hall (who have offered) are also on the case.