The transformation of St. John’s continues as the Johnnies land 6’4” guard Montez Mathis, who transfers from Rutgers with up to two years of eligibility remaining.
Mathis, a 200 pound guard known to be a good defender, chose St. John’s over Clemson. Originally from Maryland, he was a top-100 recruit coming out of high school with offers from the likes of Connecticut.
Mathis brings experience, athleticism, and defensive skill to the Red Storm at the wing, after the Johnnies lost Greg Williams, Jr., Vince Cole, and Rasheem Dunn to the transfer portal.
St. John’s has two scholarships that that can use after the commitment.
At Rutgers, Mathis started 66 of 90 possible games, but lost his starting position at the end of the Scarlet Knights’ five-game losing streak. Mathis is blessed with strength and athleticism, and has been a very good defender on and off the ball with Rutgers and a strong straight-line driver on offense.
He shot 42% on two pointers over three seasons and 28% on three-pointers in that span; shot selection/ forcing the offense was an issue at times in the Knights’ deliberate offense. Fouls were also an issue this season; he averaged 4.5 fouls per 40 minutes. Still, the defensive acumen is strong, and he has played for a very sound defensive team — a boon to the Red Storm, who deeply need defensive help.
With Greg Williams Jr. off to Louisiana (aka Louisiana-Lafayette) and Marcellus Earlington off to the University of San Diego, the St. John’s roster is taking shape, heavily influenced by transfers who have played in highly-competitive, high-stakes games.
Aaron Wheeler brings experience as a forward from Purdue, a top-three team in the Big Ten in two of Wheeler’s three years.
Stef Smith brings shooting and experience as a new guard from Vermont, a team that perennially dominated the America East.
Montez Mathis, brings athleticism and experience coming from Rutgers, who broke their NCAA Tournament drought and won a game in this year’s tourney.
Joel Soriano is coming as a talented new center from Fordham, but Fordham has won less than 20% of their games in Soriano’s two years.
Those four will join sophomores Posh Alexander and Dylan Addae-Wusu, who had strong freshman seasons. Julian Champagnie has not appeared highly on draft boards, and should come back as a lead scorer, despite the talent of the transfers.
The Johnnies also welcome Esahia Nyiwe, a center who sat on the sidelines this winter, freshman forward O’Mar Stanley, freshman forward Drissa Traore, and freshman guard/ wing Rafael Pinzón.