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Recruiting update: academics will be key to 2017 PG Tremont Waters

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Last weekend, St. John's head coach Chris Mullin and assistant Barry "Slice" Rohrssen took a look at some possible stars of the future, including 2017 guard Tremont Waters.

While only a junior, Tremont Waters, a slim 5'11 guard from Connecticut, is regarded one of the smartest players in the country. The neophyte is currently ranked 34th among ESPN top 60 players in the class of 2017.

Waters, who is known for his passing and shotmaking ability, put that intelligence on display when his South Kent team defeated Rawle Alkins and Word of God Academy at the Big Apple Basketball Invitational on Monday.

St. John's has already extended an offer to the guard and Waters has been closely observing Mullin's first season as head coach. However, St. John's will have a lot of competition for his services.

"Coach Mullin is a great guy - he really knows how to run the program. Hopefully they will improve now that they have Shamorie Ponds," Waters said to the Rumble.  "Duke, Kentucky, Virginia, Stanford, Kansas, Yale, and Indiana have all showed interest in me. Yale and Virginia have shown a lot of interest in me."

Waters has many schools on his list, but has an idea of what factors will determine his college decision.

"Whichever school I go to has to be good academically," Waters said. "However, one of the main things for me is just have a good relationship with the coach and knowing he wants the best for me and my family."

More on Waters

Our friends at Friar Basketball have been watching Waters closely (Providence has been interested), and wrote:

In Waters Jefferson has a point guard mature beyond his years. He has the total offensive package: he's capable of making defenders look silly off the bounce, he has an accurate and easy stroke from beyond the 3-point arc, and he has full command of the offense. Waters is very much a second coach out on the floor.

It's no surprise then that ESPN bumped him up to 36th nationally in their most recent rankings. Other national publications should soon follow suit.

Waters has drawn comparisons to Shabazz Napier. As someone who watched Napier grow from under-the-radar prospect to top-50 talent, the view from here is that Waters isn't far off from the level of scorer Napier was at this point, but he has a more natural feel for leading a team at such a young age. What made Napier so terrific wasn't just that he could score 40 on any given night, but that he was just as capable of dominating a game with ball pressure defense.

Mullin was known as a heady player, and Tremont Waters' intelligence and dogged play would help a St. John's offense that depends on making smart decisions as a team more than it depends on pure athleticism to get good shots.

Tremont Waters highlights