Mike Anderson will have to wait longer for a signature recruit.
St. John’s, viewed by most experts as the leader for four-star Long Island guard Jordan Riley since he announced a top five last Saturday, lost him to Georgetown on Friday.
Riley made the announcement at a press conference at Brentwood High School, choosing the Hoyas over the Johnnies. Kansas, Florida State and UConn were also among the finalists, but the decision really came down to Georgetown and St. John’s.
The two schools had been the most active recruiting the uber-athletic 6-foot-4 guard and virtually all recruiting experts pegged St. John’s as the likely destination due to the school’s close proximity to his Bay Shore home, the opportunity to play right away and lengthy time the Red Storm had been recruiting him. Georgetown offered Riley a scholarship in early May, while Anderson has been at the forefront of his recruitment dating back to the winter.
“Really close – really close,” his father Monty told The Post. “Love Mike Anderson, love Van Macon, love TJ Cleveland. They were great. Don’t think this was an easy decision. As I’m talking to you know, we’re still thinking, ‘is this the right decision.’”
Riley said Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing and assistant Louis Orr were in constant contact with him and he liked the campus after getting to see it a few weeks on a road trip. Brentwood assistant coach John Garcia is familiar with Orr, playing for him at Seton Hall. Riley came to a decision on Sunday, yet most of the week experts were picking St. John’s as his choice, which made him think the Johnnies would have been the popular choice.
“Wow, they really want me to go to St. John’s,” he thought.
Riley is the second priority 2021 target St. John’s will have missed on now. Junior college guard Dashawn Davis, a Bronx native, cut St. John’s when he announced a top two of Oregon State and Seton Hall last month, and verbally committed to the Pac-12 program on Thursday. Losing Riley to Georgetown is a major blow to what St. John’s hoped was the start of a strong 2021 recruiting class. Missing out on a kid in its backyard to Georgetown, a program in free-fall that is projected to finish at the bottom of the Big East next year and has lost a number of top players over the past year, added salt into the wound.
A source said Riley was sold by the idea he would have a starring role immediately at Georgetown. He could be part of a big recruiting class there, as the Hoyas are viewed as one of the favorites for Ryan Mutombo, a top-40 prospect and the son of Dikembe Mutombo, and will be given the opportunity to play on the ball.
“Would you go to a team that already has a quarterback and you want to be the quarterback?” Monty Riley said, referring to the presence of soon-to-be St. John’s freshman Posh Alexander. “That was one of the deciding factors.”
The Johnnies are still in play for a number of 2021 recruits, such as four-star New Jersey big man Samson Johnson and three-star Memphis wing Aiden Applewhite. They also are still hoping to fill their last open scholarship for the coming season and have expressed interest in high-scoring Belmont transfer guard Adam Kunkel after last year’s leading scorer, LJ Figueroa, transferred to Oregon.