It's no secret that St. John's was planning to delve into the transfer market this offseason. The team wants to aggressively improve the talent within the program while building a strong core.
Given the inroads the staff has made with players in the 2017 and 2018 classes, and the core of players they have brought along, the initial impression was that the transfers St. John's would likely look at would be the coveted grad transfers - the immediately available players who had graduated from their previous institution and have one year left to play while they work on graduate studies - to help bring along a young squad.
Instead, the initial targets are a pair of high-level players who will need to sit out a year.
St. John's top transfer targets are Arizona guard Justin Simon and Michigan State forward Marvin Clark Jr., per sources. #sjubb— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) March 30, 2016
Justin Simon and Marvin Clark Jr. both expected to visit #sjubb at some point. No dates yet.— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) March 30, 2016
Justin Simon is a 6'5" freshman guard who played for the Arizona Wildcats. He averaged 7.5 minutes per game for Sean Miller's team, and likely left because he didn't see playing time... with the 'Cats are bringing in Rawle Alkins and Kobi Simmons along with the possible return of freshman guard Allonzo Trier.
On the court, Simon shot 51% inside the arc and drew four fouls per 40 minutes - indicating some physical slashing ability. He rebounded well and showed some solid defensive peripherals compiling strong steal and block rates in limited time.
Marvin Clark Jr. played about 10 minutes per game for two years for Michigan State and Tom Izzo. He's a 6'6" small forward with solid rebound rates who shot 42% from outside the arc last season and nearly 60% inside the arc.
He also is leaving because of limited playing time. According to our friends at The Only Colors, Marvin Clark could be an excellent transfer - and can defend power forwards, as well.
With Amar Alibegovic leaving the program, and the arrivals of Shamorie Ponds, Richard Freudenberg and Bashir Ahmed to the scholarship mix (and Marcus Lovett and Tariq Owens to the floor), St. John's will have a whole new look. The two currently available scholarships (which could become three if Christian Jones chooses to leave) are in the hands of the staff, to use to enhance the team - or plan for the future.