St. John's has set up a huge recruiting weekend, with 15 players from a number of graduating classes swinging by the Queens campus on unofficial visits.
Sure, those pick-up games will be strong. But more importantly, head coach Chris Mullin is looking to lay the ground work for putting a proverbial rope over the region, snagging players from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware for upcoming classes.
According to the NY Post, here are the players coming to visit the new Red Storm staff, listed by the year in high school they will be in the fall:
Seniors (Class of 2016)
- Shamorie Ponds (G, Thomas Jefferson, NY)
- Nysier Brooks (F, Life Center Academy, NJ)
Juniors (Class of 2017)
- Andre Rafus (SF, St. Frances, Baltimore, MD)
- Quade Green (G, Neumann-Goretti, Philadelphia, PA)
- Eric Ayala (G, Sanford School, Wilmington, DE)
- Trevon Duval (G, St. Benedict's Prep, from Hockessin, DE)
- Nate Pierre-Louis (PG, St. Benedict's Prep, NJ)
- Jose Alvarado (PG, Christ the King, NY)
- Sidney Wilson (SF, St. Raymond's, NY)
- Mohammed Bamba (PF, Harlem, Westtown School, Canaan, NH)
Sophomores (Class of 2018)
- Louis King (SF, Roselle Catholic)
- Atiba Taylor, Jr. (G, Roselle Catholic)
- Tyrek Chambers (G, Christ the King)
- Jahvon Quinerly (PG, Hudson Catholic, NJ)
- Naz Reid (F/C, Hudson Catholic, NJ)
It's time to keep cracking on the recruiting job for the St. John's staff, which includes strong recruiters Barry Rohrssen and Matt Abdelmassih. With their experience, they know that it's important to get a few commits in the early signing period so that the rest of the year - and the spring - isn't the recruiting scramble those coaches did this season to stock next year's team.
It's impossible to get them all. But early groundwork makes connections between the players and the coaching staff - and between players themselves, who help recruit each other into promising situations. And regular contact will help the staff pick out which players are the hard working, high-character players they will be trying to build around.
Rising junior (2017-18 season) wing Hamidou Diallo came to visit this week. And for next year's class (2016-17 season), St. John's is still looking at Mustapha Heron, Bruce Brown, Ray Salnave and Tony Carr. And for this coming season, Federico Mussini is still in play for a point guard spot.
The coaches have been hustling to make a splash and be connected with some of the bigger names in the area. They may not land them all, but with this many players willing to listen, St. John's is likely to land some to build on.
The future is filled with new names and promise; and it's up to Mullin and his staff to capitalize on the early momentum, building it into a stronger, stable program. The future of St. John's starts now.