Rick Pitino compares newest St. John's basketball guard to Louisville standout

Deivon Smith is gathering high praise from the Hall of Fame head coach
Mar 14, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; St. John's basketball guard Deivon Smith (5) drives to the basket against
Mar 14, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; St. John's basketball guard Deivon Smith (5) drives to the basket against / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The St. John's basketball made its first big splash of the offseason with the addition of Utah point guard Deivon Smith in the transfer portal on Monday morning. It came a week after landing USC's Vince Iwuchukwu and North Texas' Aaron Scott, quality players but likely complimentary pieces on next year's roster.

However, Smith is not. He will be a focal point and in the starting lineup on opening night as Rick Pitino had high praise for his newest guard on social media after the commitment became official.

"Super excited to have Deivon Smith joining the Johnnies," Pitino posted on X. "Reminds me of Terry Rozier. Total Dog who rebounds, creates, and scores."

Smith posted five triple-doubles last season in just 28 games. It set the record for the most triple-doubles in a season by a PAC-12 player and he showcased that he can do just about everything on the court, averaging 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game.

Rozier shined under Pitino in just two seasons at Louisville, being named as an All-ACC guard and becoming a first round selection in the NBA Draft. He posted 17.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per game during his final season with the Cardinals.

A lofty comparison to live up to, but it shows the excitement and confidence Rick Pitino has is Deivon Smith.

Pitino harped throughout the year that his guards, with the exception of Daniss Jenkins, were hesitant to rebound. It was a major point of emphasis from the head coach early in the season, which progressively got better as the year came to an end.

That shouldn't be an issue with Smith in Queens.

St. John's still has two open scholarships left and remain involved with the lawsuit that Jordan Dingle and Chris Ledlum have brought against the NCAA, looking for another year of eligibility.