Sunday, May 21, 2017

St. John's news & notes: Sid Wilson, Gavitt Games, St. Joe's at Mohegan Sun

Four-star forward Sidney Wilson became latest addition to St. John's roster Saturday, when he committed to Red Storm over former Big East rival UConn. (Photo by Rumble in the Garden)

A trio of happenings converged upon one another this weekend to spur on another edition of St. John's news and notes. Without further ado, here lies the latest buzz around the Red Storm:

Bronx native Sidney Wilson is the newest member of the program, having committed to St. John's over Connecticut and Texas, the latter of whom scored a massive recruiting coup earlier in the week with the signing of highly coveted freshman Mohamed Bamba. Wilson, a Top 85 overall prospect according to CBS Sports' Gary Parrish, is a 6-foot-7 wing with a seven-foot wingspan who will learn from Bashir Ahmed before helping to replace him in the 2018-19 season.

"The opportunity to stay home and play at the Garden, it doesn't get better than that," Wilson told the New York Post's Zach Braziller shortly after his commitment.

Associate head coach Matt Abdelmassih was the lead recruiter for Wilson, who comes to the corner of Union and Utopia from the same Brewster Academy program that produced former Big East Rookie of the Year JaKarr Sampson, who later went on to the NBA after starring for Steve Lavin as a freshman and sophomore. Once Wilson reclassified to the class of 2017, Abdelmassih and leading scorer Shamorie Ponds; who enters his sophomore campaign in the fall, helped ramp up the effort to land the former St. Raymond's standout and bring him back home. He joins Mikey Dixon as the Red Storm's two 2017 recruits, and according to Braziller, head coach Chris Mullin and his staff appear to be content with letting their two remaining open scholarships roll over into the class of 2018.

St. John's will also be competing in the Gavitt Games for a third consecutive season, welcoming the University of Nebraska to the Big Apple on Thursday, November 16, as first reported by college basketball insider Jon Rothstein. It is still not known yet whether the game will be played at Carnesecca Arena or Madison Square Garden, but the Cornhuskers follow Rutgers and Minnesota as the third Red Storm opponent in the series between the Big East and Big Ten Conferences. Head coach Tim Miles brings the Huskers into their second Gavitt Games contest, and first since a 2015 loss at Villanova, on the heels of a 12-19 record last season, and returns three of his top six scorers. Junior guard Glynn Watson Jr., Nebraska's top incumbent producer with an average of 13 points per game and a 40 percent clip from three-point range, is expected to anchor the offense in Lincoln this season. Isaac Copeland, who transferred from Georgetown, will not be eligible for this contest, as he will continue to serve his mandatory year in residence.

Finally, Rothstein also broke news of a neutral site non-conference matchup with Saint Joseph's, to be contested at Mohegan Sun on Wednesday, December 20. The meeting with the Hawks will be part of a doubleheader that also features Providence and Houston, and will be the first between the two schools since their encounter in the 2013 National Invitation Tournament, when a Sir'Dominic Pointer jumper sunk St. Joe's at the buzzer and allowed the Red Storm to leave Philadelphia with a postseason victory.

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