The college basketball season does not start for three weeks, but St. John's might have arguably had one of their biggest tests of the season this past weekend. Last weekend St. John's hosted a number of recruits including Isaiah Briscoe, Cheick Diallo, and Brandon Sampson - and the current buzz is positive for landing one, if not all of those players.
The recruits attended Midnight Madness where they were treated to a dunk contest and a performance by French Montana. The recruits appeared to enjoy themselves and in the near future we will find out their decision. Did Coach Lavin and his staff did enough to convince them to come to Queens next year?
We finally appear to be on the final chapter of the Isaiah Briscoe saga. Briscoe attended St. John's Midnight Madness this weekend which was his last official visit. Briscoe who was sporting a Red Storm cap appeared to enjoy the visit.
Isaiah Briscoe's father George on St. John's: "The visit was great. St. John's really welcomed him." #sjubb— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) October 20, 2014
He was seen talking to Sampson and Diallo, two guys he is known to be friendly with. There have been talks about the three playing together and obviously Red Storm fans hope they decide to do so in Queens.
Isaiah Briscoe's father George: "Isiaah, Cheick [Diallo} and Brandon [Sampson] got to hang out a lot, talk a lot." #sjubb— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) October 20, 2014
If Briscoe chooses to play elsewhere, it would be a crushing blow for the program since St. John's has been in the Briscoe sweepstakes from the beginning.
However, according to the NY Post, Steve Lavin's hard work is paying off.
"They have clearly developed a great relationship with Isaiah and that puts you in a good position," Roselle Catholic coach Dave Boff told the New York Post.
In a recent interview Briscoe said that he was going to make his decision soon meaning that Briscoe could announce his choice by Thanksgiving. The main players for Briscoe appear to be Kentucky and St. John's.
After this weekend many people now believe that St. John's is the favorite for Briscoe, but nothing is certain. Briscoe will have to choose between joining an established program or reinvigorating a struggling one.
A lot of of buzz out of New York that Isaiah Briscoe is close to committing to St. John's. One to track. http://t.co/pt4qJwypYQ— Jerry Meyer (@jerrymeyer247) October 21, 2014
Diallo also attended Midnight Madness this weekend. Diallo has already met with Iowa State, Kansas, and Kentucky. Cheick Diallo has something in common with Chris Obepka as they both attended the same high school in Long Island, Our Savior New American. And both are athletic, defense-first forwards with upside.
Diallo is a necessity for St. John's since there is a very good chance Obepka goes pro after this season. There is no timetable on when he will decide.
The guard from Louisiana was also on an official visit at Midnight Madness.
Sampson had never been to St. John's, but appeared to enjoy his visit. A big selling point for Sampson is the ability to play next to Isaiah Briscoe. In an interview with the New York Post (in the post linked above), Sampson talked about playing with Briscoe.
"He's really good, I like his game," Sampson said of Briscoe. "He's a good facilitator, good scorer, has nice size for his position." Sampson has also visited California and LSU.
Junior college wing Montero also attended the event. The race for his services are heating up as Arizona, SMU, USC, and South Florida have all jumped on board. Montero had a breakout season last year at Westchester Community College where he averaged 15.6 points, 5.9 boards, and 3.0 assists.
He attended the event along with his teammate from St. Raymond For Boys, Sidney Wilson. Washington and Wilson are only sophomores, but are two of the more intriguing players from New York. Washington already has an offer from Minnesota.
Yakwe, a junior teammate of Cheick Diallo at Our Savior New American, was seen at the event on Friday. The forward has received interest from Kansas, Iowa State, Oregon, and Manhattan.
Brown, a 2016 point guard, also attends St. Raymonds. He was at the event on Friday
Salnave, a 6'2" shooting guard, is famous in New York for leading Cardozo High School to a PSAL city championship. Last year he averaged 18 points and 3 assists. Salnave made an appearance at Midnight Madness. He has offers from Dayton, Depaul, Manhattan, St. Peter's and Fordham. He also took in practice, which made him reflect.
Coach Lavin Really Said Some Things To His Players Today That Caught My Attention & That Made Me Think About Myself When I Play .. #SJUBB— Ray Salnave (@RaySalnave10) October 19, 2014