Chris Mullin continued his quest to keep top New York area prospects from slipping away and on Sunday the first year St. John's head coach announced the signing of four-star forward Kassoum Yakwe from Long Island.
Yakwe, from Our Savior New American school, is the highest-rated of nine recruits signed by Mullin's staff. The 6'7" forward is a consensus top-100 recruit who was rated as high as No. 57 by major recruiting services.
Yakwe, a native of Mali and originally in the class of 2016, will reclassify and enroll for the fall semester, the school announced. Yakwe chose nearby St. John's over Oregon. A talented shot-blocker and lanky athlete, Yakwe excels on the defensive end but has continued to develop his game offensively.
He averaged 10 points and four rebounds last year at OSNA while playing in the shadow of Cheick Diallo, a top-10 recruit who wound up at Kansas. But on the AAU circuit, Yakwe was named Nike Elite Youth Basketball League defensive player of the year, averaging 6.3 rebounds and 3.1 blocks for the PSA Cardinals.
In five games at the prestigious Peach Jam tournament in July, Yakwe posted 9.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game and shot 67.9 percent from the field.
"We are excited to welcome Kassoum to St. John's University and our basketball program," Mullin said in a statement. "He possesses tremendous athleticism, has good instincts and will be a defensive presence. Kassoum is humble and has an endearing personality, which are important characteristics to team-building."
Yakwe is expected to be eligible for the Red Storm's 2015-16 season.