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St. John’s adds Atlantic-10 All-Freshman team forward in continued roster turnover

RJ Luis St. John's
New St. John’s guard RJ Luis dribbles up the court for UMASS last year (Wikimedia Commons)

Rick Pitino continues to remake the St. John’s Red Storm this offseason, nabbing former UMASS forward RJ Luis just a week after landing Oregon State wing Glenn Taylor Jr. 

We covered Luis as one of Pitino’s top targets entering the transfer portal, and it’s not hard to see why. 

As a freshman last season, Luis averaged 11.5 points and 4.6 rebounds for the Minutemen, while shooting 35% from beyond the arc. He was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team and showed the ability to score points in bunches, putting up 31 against Duquesne and scoring over 20 points on four occasions. 

At 6’6″ and 190 pounds, he has good size for a guard and brings floor spacing as a solid shooter from the perimeter. He’s also a strong perimeter defender, where his long arms help him to guard multiple positions while also rebounding well for his position. 

The Miami, FL product was ranked as the 233rd player in the Class of 2022 according to the 247Sports Composite but 137th according to On3, but he received significant interest in the transfer portal with Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Maryland, among others, all interested in bringing him on board. 

RJ Luis St. John's
New St. John’s guard RJ Luis dribbles up the court for UMASS last year (Wikimedia Commons)

Luis is now the seventh transfer to sign with St. John’s, joining Taylor, former UCONN guard Nahiem Alleyne, former VMI forward Sean Conway, and three former Iona Gaels, who all played for Pitino last year, guards Cruz Davis and Daniss Jenkins and forward Quinn Slazinski.  

Pitino also secured a commitment from ESPN top 100 recruit Brady Dunlap last week as well, snagging him over big-name schools like North Carolina and Villanova. 

“I was sold on his player development and his résumé,” Dunlap told ESPN when asked about Pitino. “When you look at his track record, he has won everywhere he’s been and his players have really improved into all-league players, such as Luke Hancock, Donovan Mitchell, Peyton Siva, and many more.”

“The visit was unreal,” he added. “It was a difference-maker. I had a great time.”

Dunlap is the first recruit that Pitino has signed amidst all of the action in the transfer portal. His commitment also cuts down the number of available scholarships to three. With those three scholarships, Pitino is clearly looking to add a scoring guard and power forward, based on the players he is connected to. 

St. John’s has been linked to three more transfer targets: Jordan Dingle, the Ivy League Player of the Year from Penn; Mackenzie Mgbako, a McDonald’s All-American who had signed with Duke but has since opened up his recruitment; and Kentucky forward Lance Ware, a former top-40 recruit. 

Finding a big man to help Joel Soriano man the middle in a Big East Conference that features stars like Ryan Kalkbrenner, Donovan Clingan, Zach Freemantle, and Eric Dixon is a crucial next step for Pitino. 

But based on the way he’s been going, St. John’s should have found just the player to do that in no time. 

For more St. John’s coverage, visit AMNY.com

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