Men’s basketball hits the recruiting trail

Freudenberg, Alkins and Maker on the Johnnies radar

Carmine Carcieri, Assistant Sports Editor

In their first offseason at St. John’s, Chris Mullin and his coaching staff did a marvelous job of bringing in six talented recruits in order to build a competitive roster on the fly. And, while Malik Ellison, Yankuba Sima, Federico Mussini, Darien Williams, Marcus LoVett and Kassoum Yakwe are key to the future of the men’s basketball team, Mullin’s 2016 class has the potential to be even stronger.

The Johnnies have already landed four-star Brooklyn combo guard Shamorie Ponds and one of the top JUCO prospects in the country, small forward Bashir Ahmed. Now, the Johnnies are focusing on three targets: the versatile Rawle Alkins, center Thon Maker and German forward Richard Freudenberg, with two

scholarships available.

Alkins, a 6’4” guard/forward from Brooklyn, is a former Christ the King star, who transferred to Word of God Academy in North Carolina for his final season of high school basketball. The Tar Heels and North Carolina State Wolfpack are heavily involved in Alkins services, along with Kentucky, Louisville, Indiana, Arizona, Kansas and UNLV.

While Alkins has an opportunity to increase his NBA stock in the ACC or under John Calipari, the chance to be the ‘King of New York’ and play in front of family and friends could be hard to pass up. Alkins has taken two unofficial visits to St. John’s and was in attendance for the Red and White Scrimmage at the beginning of the season.

Maker, who has clear NBA potential, took an unofficial visit to campus last week and could set up an official visit in the future. The 7’0” center has a strong connection with assistant coach Barry ‘Slice’ Rohrssen dating back to the coach’s time at Kentucky. That relationship and the bright lights of New York City could be key to competing with the Wildcats, Indiana, Arizona State, Kansas, UNLV and Notre Dame for Maker’s services.

Finally, Freudenberg, a 6’8” small forward, seems to be the most realistic target for the Johnnies as he will decide on his future in the coming weeks. Vanderbilt is the only other school that has heavy interest in the Bayern Munich product, but Freudenberg was particularly fond of St. John’s campus and city when he visited back in August 2015.

Landing two of the three would be a massive coup for the Red Storm and would give Mullin and company the ability to be even more dangerous within the Big East next year.