Simeon Wilcher reaffirms commitment to St. John's basketball: 'My time is going to come'

There is no wavering in the St. John's basketball freshman's devotion to Rick Pitino
Jan 13, 2024; Omaha, Nebraska, USA;  St. John's Red Storm guard Simeon Wilcher (7) dribbles against
Jan 13, 2024; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Simeon Wilcher (7) dribbles against / Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

There was a major buzz when 4-star point guard Simeon Wilcher flipped his commitment from North Carolina to the St. John's basketball team.

It further demonstrated that the Red Storm would be able to recruit alongside the blue-bloods of the sport with Rick Pitino as its head coach.

However, in this age of college basketball, playing time is expected for a freshman who enters a program with high expectations and if his minutes are down, a trip to the transfer portal is likely coming in the spring.

That doesn't seem to be the case with Wilcher.

"I'm not really making too much of a big deal about it," the rookie said about his lack of significant, or extended, minutes on Friday afternoon. "My time is going to come."

The Roselle Catholic (NJ) standout has played in 23 games this year, making two starts, but is only averaging 9.3 minutes and 2.6 points per game. He was thrusted into duty on Wednesday night against Georgetown because of foul trouble and scored seven points in seven minutes, which could've been nine points if not for an offensive basket interference called on the Red Storm.

Rick Pitino called Wilcher's play a "big lift" after the 90-85 victory for the Johnnies and has referred to him as the "heir apparent" to Daniss Jenkins as the team's point guard.

"I said, 'Sim, play great, man, we need you' and he did," Pitino, who recognized that he could have used one of his veteran players instead of the freshman, said of his message to Wilcher before he took the floor against the Hoyas.

"Having a coach like Coach Pitino to be all in on you is a blessing," Wilcher explained. "I'm happy where I am."

Pitino has mentioned several times throughout the season that some of his best players at Louisville, like Russ Smith and Peyton Siva, didn't play much as freshmen and it's a concept that Simeon Wilcher has become familiar with, calling it "a part of [Pitino's] process."

Jenkins has been very helpful to Wilcher as he adjusted to the college level. "Even at times when I'm not playing, I'm paying attention and seeing how he's navigating through a game as the lead point guard," he explained of their relationship.

"I've just been able to, one, get better playing against [Daniss Jenkins] in practice and, two, learning a lot being the leader, the voice, of a team in this college [environment] because it's completely different from high school."

Wilcher compares this year to his freshman season at Roselle Catholic when he didn't get as much playing time on a roster with nine seniors, including current Rutgers center Cliff Omoyuri and his brother, Nebraska guard, CJ Wilcher.

"As long as I can contribute in any way that I can, I'm good with that," he said.

As for the thought of transferring at the end of the season, it doesn't seem like it even crosses the mind of the youngster, who said he wouldn't want to have to adjust a new system and environment again next year.

"I feel like I'm pretty comfortable here."

Wilcher's parents also have a lot to do with him remaining confident about Pitino and St. John's.

"My parents talk to me and make sure I see things through, because I bet on myself coming here, and I'm just about relationships and I feel like I built pretty good relationships with everybody [at St. John's]."

"There's no reason for me to [get] up and move because that's not apart of the grind," he continued.

The lure of the NBA is also a major selling point for Simeon Wilcher, more specifically wanting to remain in the league rather than being shipped around between the G-League and overseas if he left school before he was ready.

"I'm not in a rush to try and get to the next level. I just want to be the best player that I can be so, if God blesses me with the chance to have the opportunity to move onto the next level, that I'm completely ready and that I can say there."

Rick Pitino hopes to get Wilcher about 11 minutes per game for the rest of the season and that could start in a massive showdown for the Johnnies (15-12, 7-9 Big East) on Sunday afternoon (12:00 p.m. ET, CBS) against No. 15 Creighton (20-7, 11-5 Big East).

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