How will new scholarship opening impact St. John’s basketball?

St. John’s head coach Mike Anderson has another scholarship available for next year after troubled forward Ian Steere entered the transfer portal.

It was a nail-biter to the end, but St. John’s Head Coach Mike Anderson’s career streak of a .500 record or better remained intact. Sadly, the Red Storm appeared to be getting hot at the right time but their progress was halted by the coronavirus shut down thus ending their season.

There are many takeaways from Anderson’s first year at the helm of the Big East school, but one glaring thing that sticks out to me is the Johnnies playing without a true “big man.”

The tallest players on the Red Storm’s roster were Josh Roberts and Ian Steere, both 6-9. Behind them on the height chart was Julian Champagnie. The 6-8 freshman’s outstanding play earned him a spot on the conference’s All-Freshman team.

However, the Johnnies already thin roster took another hit. Ian Steere along with 6-7 redshirt junior Damien Sears entered the NCAA transfer portal, per the New York Post’s Zach Braziller.

Steere, who transferred from NC State, came to Anderson’s squad and greatly disappointed. In six games, the Sanford, North Carolina native averaged 0.7 points, 0.2 rebounds and no assists per game.

Some fans may have forgotten about the sophomore forward and his departure may not seem like a huge loss. He was suspended from the program because he didn’t, “meet standards expected from a member of our basketball program.”

Roberts is set to return from injury next season and the highly anticipated debut of 6-10 junior college recruit Isaih Moore, is something to look forward to. The Johnnies could potentially use Steere’s now open scholarship to entice a four-star transfer or incoming freshman.

After landing a commitment from four-star recruit Posh Alexander, Anderson is still waiting to hear back from four-stars: Noah Farrakhan and Nate Tabor.

Farrakhan, a point guard from The Patrick School in Newark, New Jersey, has received offers from local schools Seton Hall, Rutgers, and Iona per 247sports.com, but appears to warm on signing with the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Tabor has a 67 percent chance of signing with St. John’s according to 24/7. He visited Queens on Dec. 8 but he also has interest from UCONN, Auburn, LSU and East Carolina.

While I think Anderson would be swinging for the fence to land a five-star recruit, I’d rather see him grow the program naturally. Once the Red Storm flex on the Big East with their “40 Minutes of Hell” defense and their propensity for winning ballgames, then St. John’s will be back on top. Recruits and transfers will want to be a part of the New York City hoops landscape.

As of now the projected 13-man roster for St. John’s in 2020-21 is:

Posh Alexander, Rasheem Dunn, Jon McGriff (Twitter user PJ Kellachan says sources indicated McGriff may have backed out of his commitment), Dylan Wusu, Greg Williams Jr., Vincent Cole, Isaih Moore, Julian Champagnie, LJ Figueroa, Josh Roberts, David Caraher, and Marcellus Earlington.

Next: A Letter to Tom Brady from relieved Jets fans

The 13th spot is still open. It could be two if the McGriff rumor is true.