After a brief exodus from college basketball due to NCAA violations at Louisville, Rick Pitino made his return to the NCAA at Iona in 2020. After three seasons at Iona, Pitino is back at a high-major school having accepted the head coaching job at St. John's following Iona's March Madness loss in the first round. He will be tasked with rebuilding the St. John's program as a powerhouse in college basketball. To start off, Pitino has turned his attention to the transfer portal and two specific names in Nick Timberlake and Chris Ledlum as per Zach Braziller of The New York Post.
Rick Pitino has already made in-home recruiting visits for both players. Nick Timberlake is a guard from Towson who had his best college season this year. He averaged 17.7 points per game, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.0 steals with shooting splits of 45.5 percent shooting from the field, 41.6 percent shooting from the three-point line and 84.5 percent shooting from the free-throw line. Chris Ledlum is a forward from Harvard who also had his best college year as a junior. He averaged 18.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocked shots with shooting splits of 47.3 percent shooting from the field, 29.4 percent shooting from the three-point line and 63.6 percent shooting from the free-throw line.
Last season, St. John's finished with an overall record of 18-15 and 7-13 in Big East Conference play. The Red Storm have not appeared in the NCAA tournament since 2019. Pitino will have his work cut out for him if he wants to bring St. John's basketball back to it's former days of glory.