St. John’s basketball: Walter Clayton Jr. picks Florida over Red Storm

St. John's basketball transfer portal target Walter Clayton Jr. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball transfer portal target Walter Clayton Jr. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports) /

St. John’s basketball transfer target Walter Clayton picks Florida over the Red Storm. 

It will be a little bit longer before the St. John’s basketball program lands its first commitment under head coach Rick Pitino.

Walter Clayton Jr., who played for Pitino at Iona, opted to select Florida over the Red Storm in his announcement on Tuesday morning.

“I’ll be taking my talents to Florida,” the 6-foot-2 guard said during his announcement on The Field of 68.

Clayton Jr., a Lake Wales, Florida native, grew up about two hours from Gainesville and the draw of being closer to home outweighed the potential of continuing his basketball career under the Hall of Famer in Queens.

The MAAC Player of the Year averaged 16.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game this season while shooting 45.5-percent from the field, 43.1-percent from the 3-point line, and 95.3-percent from the free throw line.

“I chose Florida because when I went there I was blown away on the visit,” Clayton continued.

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“I’m kind of just a feel guy…I honestly feel it’s the best choice for me and the best fit for me.”

Clayton Jr. visited Florida in late March before taking a visit to St. John’s, alongside his Iona teammate Daniss Jenkins, this weekend.

St. John’s basketball still looking to fill out roster

St. John’s has just three players on its current roster — Joel Soriano, Drissa Traore, and Mohamed Keita — as the former is the only one of that trio to receive significant playing time last season under Mike Anderson.

The program has seen Rafael Pinzon, AJ Storr, Kolby King, O’Mar Stanley, Posh Alexander, Dylan Addae-Wusu, Andre Curbelo, and David Jones enter the transfer portal since the hiring of Pitino while Brandon Gardner, Yaxel Lendeborg, and Harrison Reede have all reopened their recruitments.

ALSO READ: Brandon Gardner requests release from NLI

St. John’s also will not be landing Washington State transfer TJ Bamba, a player the school had interested in, after he announced his final two destinations of Villanova and Georgia Tech.

However, Pitino and his staff remain in contact with a number of transfer portal prospects in addition to four-star guard Garwey Dual.

Next. Rafael Pinzon commits to Bryant. dark