For college basketball programs, Midnight Madness symbolizes the start of a new season. This weekend St. John's will have their Midnight Madness, but for Steve Lavin and his staff the event means more than just the start of the 2014-2015 season.
Midnight Madness will also serve as an attempt to attract big time recruits to St. John's, with Isaiah Briscoe, Brandon Sampson, and Cheick Diallo are all expected to attend Midnight Madness - a banner class if Lavin can land all three.
Isaiah Briscoe (G, 2015)
Getting anyone of these three prospects would be enormous for St. John's, however, all eyes will be on Isaiah Briscoe at the event. Briscoe, the top point guard in his class, is expected to make his decision very soon.
This past weekend Briscoe visited Missouri and after a picture of him wearing a Missouri jersey in front of a Missouri post game media backdrop was tweeted out, many thought he had committed.
Mizzou how we looking !!?? pic.twitter.com/XfGSqjmkZi— Antonio B (@blakeney96) October 11, 2014
While Briscoe did not commit to Missouri this weekend, he still appeared to have enjoyed the visit.
Great Visit Mizzou !!!! THE ZOU— The Boogie CBG (@_IsaiahBriscoe) October 12, 2014
Missouri's big attraction for Briscoe is the ability for him to play with Antonio Blakeney. Blakeney, who was also visiting Missouri this weekend, is friendly with Briscoe and the two have discussed playing together.
In addition, Missouri has had success with getting guards to the NBA. Last year's backcourt, Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson are both in training camp with the Lakers. St. John's was once thought to be the favorite to land Briscoe; the race appears to be a lot closer now.
Kentucky and Missouri have both made convincing pitches to Briscoe and it is now on Steve Lavin to do the same. Is the near-future of St. John's basketball is riding on this weekend?
Tanksley Efianayi (G/F, JUCO 2015)
Efianayi who has been a St. John's target for a couple of months, committed to UCF this weekend. Though originally from Connecticut, Efianayi's family lives in Orlando (where UCF is) so this is not surprising.
According to UCFSports on the Rivals network, the lure of staying home was huge.
"[UCF Coach Jones] told me there's nothing like playing at home," Efianayi said. "They're in the new conference, so why would I want to go anywhere else? They haven't won anything yet, trying to get to the tournament and win the American, and I can be a big part of that. I took that into consideration, and just watching them practice I know I can be an impact on the team and help them win games. Everything was just clicking."
Efianayi was one of St. John's major targets, a player who would bring a college-ready body and experience to what will be a young team next year. The Red Storm are looking at other junior college wings like Luis Montero and Deshawn Freeman
Temple Gibbs (G, 2016)
Gibbs continues to impress college coaches. This past week Gibbs picked up offers from Georgetown and Virginia. The guard played in the Sharette Dixon Classic at Gauchos Gym this weekend where his team fell 103-93. There is no word on when Gibbs will choose a school, but he is definitely a player worth keeping an eye on this season.
Sidney Wilson (G/F, 2017)
Wilson is an athletic wing from the Bronx. Standing at 6'6, Wilson attends St. Raymond's High School and is one of the top players from New York in the class of 2017.
Wilson played in the Sharette Dixon Classic underclassmen game and took home MVP honors for his team. Wilson is athletic, but still very raw. He needs to improve on his offensive game, especially his long range shooting. He has offers from St. John's, Minnesota, and Providence.