The Entire St. John’s Basketball Recruiting Class Has Moved On Since Rick Pitino Was Hired

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Head coach Rick Pitino is going to have his work cut out for him.

The newly hired St. John’s University coach is no stranger to controversy with his matter-of-fact personality and coaching style.

However, he may be missing the one thing he needs to actually be a coach: the players.

Since Pitino was hired, the University has lost their entire men’s basketball recruiting class.

On Friday, four-star forward Brandon Gardner became the final Johnnies player to enter the transfer portal since the new coach’s hiring just a few weeks ago. He follows star shooting guard AJ Storr, as well as Kolby King, O’Mar Stanley, Rafael Pinzon, Posh Alexander AND Omar Stanley.

Yikes!

NIL DEALS ARE CHANGING THE COLLEGE SPORTS LANDSCAPE

There are a variety of reasons for the massive exodus.

Many of the players were recruited by former head coach Mike Anderson, who has since sued St. John’s after his firing for alleged wrongful termination.

The players realize that with a new coach comes a different type of coaching style and demands – something Pitino admitted himself.

“I need guys who can shoot the basketball, not get fatigued, get after it defensively,” Pitino said during his introductory press conference.

“We’re probably going to have to bring in 6-8 players for this basketball team and that’s going to take a lot of work. A lot of players probably won’t be back on this team because they’re probably not a good fit for me,” Pitino continued before adding this gem of a line: “It takes a certain type of player to play for me and if you’re not, it’s just not a good fit, it just doesn’t work.”

Whenever there’s a coaching change, it’s inevitable that some players will leave. But to have THIS many move on is extremely rare… or is it?

Rick Pitino will have to work on recruiting new players for St. John’s this year. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

St. John’s is dealing with what many other schools and universities will soon experience as well – a major shake-up in the world of college sports.

As a result of NIL (name, image, likeness) deals, players have more power now than ever before. Universities are essentially becoming mini professional sport teams and using financial backing to recruit players. What used to be shady, backroom deals is now openly happening in the public eye.

Likewise, players that may not want to deal with an aggressive type of coach like Pitino can now head elsewhere and get paid without as much aggravation.

It will be interesting to see how Pitino does in bringing in what he and the Red Storm fans hope will be a championship-level team.

So far, it doesn’t look too promising.

Written by Mike Gunzelman

Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.

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