Where does St. John’s basketball program turn next in Class of 2021?

St. John's basketball head coach Mike Anderson reacts to a play. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
St. John's basketball head coach Mike Anderson reacts to a play. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

Things are beginning to get late early for the St. John’s basketball class in the Class of 2021 but Mike Anderson still has some options for the rising junior class.

There really is no other way to spin it, Friday morning was not a good one for Mike Anderson and the St. John’s basketball program.

Four-star Jordan Riley committed to Georgetown over the program after the Red Storm had been recruiting him since January and the Hoyas only offered in April.

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The trajectory of both programs are going in opposite directions and Riley is a Long Island recruit from Brentwood, New York.

Riley was the type of player that St. John’s has to land eleven out of ten time.

However, while this will certainly sting the fanbase for a while, Anderson and his staff can’t dwell on it and have to get back out on the recruiting trail to see what’s next in the Class of 2021.

On Wednesday it was reported that the program had reached out to Belmont transfer Adam Kunkel who would have to sit one year and play two according to NCAA transfer rules.

Potential landing Kunkel would be a tough ask for Anderson and his staff considering Kunkel is a Kentucky native and John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats also reached out as well as Chris Mack and the Louisville Cardinals.

ALSO READ: Four-star Jordan Riley commits to Georgetown over St. John’s

The two high level prospects generating the most buzz on the recruiting trail with the Red Storm are big men Samson Johnson and Franck Kepnang.

Kepnang, a Top-25 prospect in the Class of 2021, is a high level rim runner who gives maximum effort on both sides of the ball but his defensive abilities currently are more advanced than his skill on the offensive end.

The same can be said for Samson Johnson but unlike Kepnang, Johnson would be considered a local recruit playing for The Patrick School in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

ALSO READ: St. John’s reaches out to Belmont transfer Adam Kunkel

Listed at 6-foot-11, Johnson’s AAU coach recently said that the Red Storm have been one of the programs that has been calling the most about Johnson but programs like Connecticut and Cincinnati have also been in a lot of contact.

With George Washington graduate transfer Arnoldo Toro out of the fold entering the 2021-22 season, the Red Storm would only have a senior Josh Roberts to man the paint as another true rim protector is something the program has lacked for years.

As it’s still early in the process, St. John’s might have a better shot at landing Johnson over Kepnang as the Pennsylvania native has more of a national recruiting landscape.

ALSO READ: St. John’s program squaring off with Big East rival for recruit

Guards seem to be overstocked in Queens as the Johnnies are only scheduled to lose Rasheem Dunn on paper after next season, which is a potential sign why Jordan Riley didn’t commit to Anderson, but the head coach is still contacting other guards.

Things rarely go according to plan in college basketball, but St. John’s would have three scholarships for the Class of 2021, pending the team does not fill the last scholarship opening for the 2020-21 season.

In recent weeks St. John’s has been in contact with Wesley Cardet Jr. after offering a scholarship back on July 5 and holding a virtual meeting with the prospect on July 14.

ALSO READ: St. John’s completes virtual meeting with Wesley Cardet Jr.

A four-star prospect in the class and a borderline Top-100 recruit to add to it, Mike Anderson would have to truly convince the Fort Lauderdale, Florida native that Queens is the place to be as many southern schools are also recruiting him.

That brings the conversation to Alden Applewhite who revealed in an interview that St. John’s is in contact with him everyday but there are other schools in his Top-5 that have been recruiting him since he was a freshman.

It’ll be an interesting couple of months for St. John’s and Mike Anderson who were hoping to use the recruiting dead period caused by the coronavirus pandemic in their favor as coaches from blue bloods and other power conferences wouldn’t be able to watch and woo these recruits in person.