Anderson Secures Another New York Native For 2022-23 Roster

Former four-star recruit Andre Curbelo commits to St. John’s.

Photo Courtesy / YouTube AIR Highlights

Former Illinois point guard Andre Curbelo announced his commitment to St. John’s on Apr. 15 via Instagram.  His announcement immediately spread across multiple social media platforms and received praise from the St. John’s community, especially current team members. The addition was officially announced by the Athletic Department on Monday, April 25.

“We are excited to welcome Andre home and thrilled to have him join the St. John’s Basketball family,” said head coach Mike Anderson in a press release. “Andre is an electric guard with tremendous experience who adds a new dimension to our talented backcourt.”

Curbelo was a four-star recruit out of high school, ranked number 44 in the nation by both ESPN and 247sport. He averaged 16.7 points, 8.1 assists, 7.6 rebounds and 3.6 steals in his senior season. With these outstanding numbers, the guard was presented with 13 Division I offers, and chose to play at Illinois for the 2020-21 season. 

The native New Yorker from Oyster Bay played at Long Island Lutheran in high school, alongside current St. John’s freshman guard Rafael Pinzon and freshman forward Drissa Traore. Pinzon was able to only play 13 games in the season due to being out for over a month after contracting COVID-19 prior to the Gotham Classic. Due to the roster congestion, Traore was redshirted.

Curbelo was named Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year and Big Ten All-freshman Team in his freshman campaign with the Fighting Illini. In that season, he averaged 12.7 points and 5.6 rebounds for the final 10 games of that season. The guard improved significantly down the stretch, and played in 31 of the team’s 32 games. 

Curbelo suffered a setback in his sophomore year, as he averaged 7.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists. He only played in a total of 19 games due to  concussion-related issues, which led to 11 straight missed games. However, that did not stop him from grabbing a season-high ten rebounds in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal game.

Though Curbelo did not quite live up to expectations in his sophomore showing — in part due to injury woes — he found a place on a Big Ten team during his first two seasons. The conference was one of the best last season, up with the Big East as the most successful in the country. The Big Ten sent a nation-high nine teams to the NCAA tournament compared to the Big East’s six; however, the Big East reigned supreme in the Gavitt Tipoff Games, a non-conference battle between the two leagues.

Curbelo will be working alongside sophomore point guard Posh Alexander, who has found past success playing alongside other point guards. In his freshman season, Alexander played alongside senior point guard Rasheem Dunn, which resulted in Big East Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors. Alexander was informed of the recruiting process and supported the addition, according to the New York Post.

The team is retooling after losing two high-scoring forwards: junior guard Julian Champagine has put his name in to enter the NBA Draft and graduate student Aaron Wheeler will not be returning for his last year of eligibility. Incoming freshman four-star guard AJ Storr from the IMG academy committed to St. John’s last August. These additions to the Johnnies lineup will attempt to solidify a roster that is currently just outside the preseason NCAA Tournament picture, according to ESPN.