Rick Pitino says St. John's basketball has 'Two guys missing to make a special group'

The Red Storm roster is nearly full and Rick Pitino is excited about how the team looks
Feb 13, 2024; Providence, Rhode Island, USA; St. John's basketball head coach Rick Pitino  works from
Feb 13, 2024; Providence, Rhode Island, USA; St. John's basketball head coach Rick Pitino works from / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The St. John's basketball roster is nearly full but there is some work still to be done for Rick Pitino and his coaching staff.

The Johnnies received a commitment from Utah point guard Deivon Smith on Monday, which was its first major acquisition from the transfer portal. It also landed North Texas wing Aaron Scott and USC center Vince Iwuchukwu on its roster for next season.

"Championship caliber teams can handle, pass, and score," Pitino posted on X on Monday afternoon.

"My [Kentucky] and Louisville teams were positionless, playing 5 out with everyone having guard skills."

St. John's is also retaining Simeon Wilcher, Brady Dunlap, RJ Luis, Zuby Ejiofor from last year's roster and has two vacant scholarship still available.

"Two guys missing to make a special group," Pitino added. "[Passionate, Hungry, and Driven] guys."

However, the number of scholarships doesn't necessarily mean very much considering St. John's went over the scholarship limit last season and had Name, Image, and Likeness money cover the excess roster spot.

It could do the same again this season pending the lawsuit that Jordan Dingle and Chris Ledlum filed against the NCAA, seeking an extra year of eligibility after the Ivy League opted out of the 2020-21 season that was impacted by COVID-19.

Ledlum entered the 2024 NBA Draft as well as the transfer portal as the legal process develops while Dingle has been silent on the topic. He did not enter the portal prior to the May 1 deadline but could still have professional options. Should he win the lawsuit and return to college, it would be with St. John's.

The Red Storm also remain heavily involved with Seton Hall transfer Kadary Richmond and are considered the favorites to land him. He would create the a dynamic backcourt with Deivon Smith and fill one of the two remaining scholarships.

St. John's is still looking to add another frontcourt player after missing out on Rutgers center Cliff Omoruyi and Miami forward Norchard Omier, both of whom were very high on the program's offseason wishlist.