Rick Pitino knew St. John's basketball 'had to have' Vince Iwuchukwu after workout

The Red Storm Hall of Fame coach is enamored with its newest center
Stanford v USC; St. John's basketball center Vince Iwuchukwu
Stanford v USC; St. John's basketball center Vince Iwuchukwu / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

The St. John's basketball program got on the board in the transfer portal on Tuesday afternoon with the commitment of USC center Vince Iwuchukwu.

A former 5-star recruit that played seldom with the Trojans after battling multiple health issues during his freshman season, averaged 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in 15.7 minutes as a sophomore.

Despite the underwhelming stats, Rick Pitino knew he needed to add the lanky center to his roster after hosting him on an official visit last week.

"After putting Vince Iwuchukwu through a player development session, I knew we had to have him in a Johnnies uniform," Pitino said on social media.

"Awesome attitude and work ethic."

There is still plenty of room to grow for the newest member of the Red Storm and it's no guarantee that he will be the starting center on opening night as Pitino and his coaching staff are still searching the transfer portal for a center.

"[7-foot-1], 250 [pounds], agile, mobile, and shoots the heck out of it. Excited to have him with so much upside and potential!" Pitino added.

Vince Iwuchukwu shot 50.4-percent from the field last season and only attempted one 3-pointer. He was a 69.7-percent free throw shooter.

Granted he wasn't a starter nor played much, but Iwuchukwu has only taken a total of 178 shots in his college career. In comparison, St. John's starting center Joel Soriano took 291 total shots this season. There will not be a heavy reliance on the center to do much offensively early during his tenure in Queens.

Andy Enfield, Iwuchukwu's head coach the last two seasons at USC, tried to get the center to join him at SMU and Eric Musselman, the new leader of the Trojans, was hoping to retain him on the roster, but Rick Pitino and St. John's won out.

Vince Iwuchukwu will have two years of eligibility remaining.