Star guard Kadary Richmond transfers to St. John's from Big East rival Seton Hall

NEW YORK (AP) — Star guard Kadary Richmond is transferring to St. John's from Seton Hall, staying close to home inside the Big East but switching sides in their Hudson River rivalry.

Rated the top player available in the transfer portal, the 6-foot-6 Richmond was a first-team All-Big East selection last season. He led the Pirates to their second National Invitation Tournament championship after they were one of the first four teams left out of the NCAA Tournament.

The do-it-all guard from Brooklyn averaged 15.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game. He ranked second in Division I with nine games of at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.

“Kadary Richmond is a player I admired so much in the Big East," Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino said Tuesday in a St. John's news release. “Awesome talent and we are so excited to have him.”

A graduate transfer, Richmond played his freshman season at Syracuse before spending three years with Seton Hall. His signing was the second big one from the transfer portal in two days for the Johnnies, who landed former Utah point guard Deivon Smith on Monday.

A fifth-year senior, the 6-foot Smith ranked sixth in the country with 7.1 assists per game last season. He averaged 13.3 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Utes, compiling five triple-doubles — second most during a single season in NCAA history and the most by any Pac-12 player.

Richmond and Smith give the Red Storm an impressive class of transfers this offseason. They join 7-foot-1 center Vincent Iwuchukwu from Southern California and 6-foot-7 forward Aaron Scott from North Texas, both of whom committed last month.

Athletic small forward RJ Luis Jr., who averaged 10.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season, is the top returning player along with big man Zuby Ejiofor.

Power forward Chris Ledlum and guard Jordan Dingle filed a lawsuit against the NCAA seeking another year of eligibility.

At point guard, St. John's also returns sophomore Simeon Wilcher, a touted recruit who began to show marked improvement late last season in his limited role as a freshman. Wilcher averaged 2.8 points and 9.1 minutes in 28 games as an understudy to senior Daniss Jenkins, the team's leading scorer and playmaker.

"(Simeon), Deivon and now Kadary, along with our young talents, is a dream backcourt,” Pitino said.

Richmond had 21 points and 13 rebounds in the NIT title game, a 79-77 victory over Indiana State on April 4 that gave Seton Hall its first championship in the event since 1953.

St. John's finished 20-13 last season, including 11-9 in conference play for its most Big East wins in 14 years. After losing both regular-season games against Richmond and the Pirates, the Red Storm beat Seton Hall 91-72 in the Big East quarterfinals. Both schools were snubbed by the NCAA Tournament selection committee, though.

The victory over Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden advanced the Johnnies to the Big East Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2000, where they lost 95-90 to eventual NCAA champion UConn.


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