St. John’s basketball: Rick Pitino praises roster, says defense needs work

St. John's basketball head coach Rick Pitino (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
St. John's basketball head coach Rick Pitino (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

St. John’s basketball head coach Rick Pitino provided insight on his roster. 

Rick Pitino is getting excited for the upcoming college basketball season after getting a look at his St. John’s basketball roster this offseason.

Members of the Red Storm program have converged on campus in Queens to try and get acclimated to the Hall of Famer’s coaching style and system.

Pitino only kept two players from last year’s roster, captain Joel Soriano and seldom used forward Drissa Traore, and has added 13 new players to the Johnnies.

However, that number increased by one since the last time Pitino took to social media to praise his players and coaches for putting together a formidable roster.

ALSO READ: St. John’s makes Top-8 finalists for 5-star guard Boogie Fland

“Just an incredible job by our staff in recruiting 11 quality athletes with great potential,” Pitino said on Twitter in May when many thought St. John’s had completed its roster.

“A culture is formed with selfless people that have a strong thirst for winning. So excited to work with these 13 talented men.”

St. John’s added Cruz Davis, Sean Conway, RJ Luis, Daniss Jenkins, Jordan Dingle, Nahiem Alleyne, Brady Dunlap, Zuby Ejiofor, Sadiku Ayo, Quinn Slazinski, and Glenn Taylor Jr.

Then, 4-star guard Simeon Wilcher requested his release from his National Letter of Intent from North Carolina and shortly committed to the Red Storm.

“Love the work ethic of the Johnnies,” Pitino tweeted last week.

St. John’s basketball head coach jokes on social media

Another player could be landing in Queens relatively soon after former transfer portal target Chris Ledlum decommitted from Tennessee last week after choosing the Volunteers over Indiana and St. John’s in May.

The Red Storm are back in the mix for the Harvard transfer and could use Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) as a means of compensating for the two players that wouldn’t, technically, be on scholarship.

ALSO READ: Chris Ledlum leaves Tennessee, reenters portal

“Long way off on defense,” Pitino joked in his social media post, “But a tremendous group of young men. [The coaching] Staff did an awesome job with recruiting!!”

St. John’s is already building a case to be a top tier team in the Big East and make the NCAA Tournament in the first season under Rick Pitino.

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