St. John’s basketball hits home run in transfer portal with Andre Curbelo

St. John's basketball transfer guard Andre Curbelo (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball transfer guard Andre Curbelo (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

The St. John’s basketball program has made a major splash in the transfer portal. 

It was clear that the St. John’s basketball program needed to make a splash this offseason after losing two of its best players from a season ago, Julian Champagnie and Aaron Wheeler, and Mike Anderson has delivered.

Former Illinois star guard Andre Curbelo announced his decision to commit to the Red Storm on Friday afternoon.

Curbelo made the announcement via social media.

The former Long Island Lutheran star will be reunited with his former high school teammates, Rafael Pinzon and Drissa Traore, while combining with Posh Alexander to create one of the most disruptive backcourts in the country.

Andre Curbelo was named as the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year and to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team after his first season with the Illini but dealt with multiple injures during his sophomore season that did not allow him to take the next step in his development.

Many college basketball outlets had the guard as a Preseason All-American prior to the 2021-22 campaign.

ALSO READ: Julian Champagnie officially declares for NBA Draft

Curbelo averaged 9.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.2 assist per game as a freshman with a 49.8-field goal percentage, yet only connected at a 16.1-percent clip from 3-point range.

However, those numbers dropped to 7.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assist per contest as a sophomore, shooting 32.9-percent from the field.

Andre Curbelo will not only be looking for a fresh start in Queens but a chance to prove that the promise he showed as a freshman can truly be highlighted in the up-tempo style the Johnnies feature.

St. John’s now has a loaded and experienced backcourt with Alexander, Curbelo, Pinzon, Dylan Addae-Wusu, and Montez Mathis. The Red Storm also have guards AJ Storr and Kolby King in its incoming high school recruiting class.

St. John’s basketball coaching staff still with plenty of work to do

The addition of Andre Curbelo surely will send shockwaves through the program, and the Big East Conference, but the Johnnies still have a glaring hole on its roster and that is shooting.

St. John’s is losing three of its best shooters, Julian Champagnie, Aaron Wheeler, and Tareq Coburn, from last season and also have a major void on the wing.

ALSO READ: St. John’s guard Montez Mathis to return for final season

There are only two scholarships currently available for the Red Storm and it is likely at least one player will be added from the transfer portal while the final scholarship could be for four-star forward Brandon Gardner, a current 2023 recruit who has the potential to reclassify to 2022.

St. John’s will be looking to make its first NCAA Tournament under head coach Mike Anderson in the 2022-23 season.

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