Before the St. John’s legend even has been introduced as coach, he has made a hire, and it’s an impressive one, luring recruiting ace Matt Abdelmassih from Iowa State to join his staff.
The 30-year-old Brooklyn native is seen as a rising star in the business, a 2007 St. John’s graduate and one-time team manager who’s had a major hand in the Cyclones renaissance under coach Fred Hoiberg over the last five years. Abdelmassih was just 90 days old when Mullin led St. John’s to the Final Four in 1985, but he got to know Mullin well over the years through Hoiberg, and he couldn’t pass up an opportunity to come home.
“It’s surreal,” he said in a phone interview before flying back to New York. “Eight years ago, I was walking around that campus as a student. To be coming to a place I absolutely love is incredible. This is the one job I always said I would come walking back to.
“I’m honored [Chris] called me to be a part of his staff. I know it’s the start of big things.”
Abdelmassih, a widely respected figure in Northeast recruiting circles, announced the news on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. He will attend Mullin’s introductory press conference on Wednesday.
The rest of Mullin’s staff remains up in the air. Sources said there has been contact with Kentucky assistant coach Barry “Slice” Rohrssen, a Brooklyn native, former Manhattan coach and close friend of Mullin. Chicago Bulls assistant coach Ed Pinckney, who spent four years with Villanova on Jay Wright’s staff, is another candidate, though both are in the air at the moment. Iona assistant coach Jared Grasso has been mentioned as another possibility, as has Mullin’s brother Terence.
Abdelmassih is a major addition for Mullin, a first-time coach who needed to surround himself with experienced coaches. Abdelmassih is known for his ability to land impact transfers and as a people person who has a knack for quickly developing relationships. He was responsible for landing players such as DeAndre Kane, Royce White and Dustin Hogue at Iowa State.
“We want to foster a relationship where the city kids are expected to go to St. John’s,” Abdelmassih said. “In the 1990s, there was that expectation level. That’s what we want to get back to.”
He had Iowa State in the mix for consensus top-10 senior recruit Cheick Diallo of Our Savior New American on Long Island, a player former St. John’s coach Steve Lavin was recruiting before he parted ways with the school. Diallo was considering Iowa State, Kentucky, Kansas, Pittsburgh and St. John’s at last check.
Scout.com national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels called it a “tremendous hire” that gives Mullin’s staff “credibility” on the recruiting front.
“Mullin needed to hire someone with strong connections in the Northeast and he’s getting a guy that can help them in that area,” Daniels said.y
Source: NY Post
Date Posted: Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 , Total Page Views: 1045
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