He is back  St.  John’s are pleased to announced his arival following…

Rick Pitino and St. John’s are on the board.

After weeks of visits, Zoom calls and recruiting the transfer portal, the Johnnies landed a verbal commitment from high-upside center Vince Iwuchukwu of USC on Tuesday.

The 7-foot-1 big man visited Queens last week and took a trip to SMU over the weekend. LSU and Creighton were also involved, and new USC coach Eric Musselman attempted to bring him back, but the former top–30 recruit opted for the Red Storm.

“I was mesmerized by Coach Pitino and the coaching staff,” he told The Post in a phone interview. “Their vision for me and the vision I have for myself, they both align. Me and my family made the right choice for me.”

During his visit, Iwuchukwu wowed the coaching staff with his skill set as a rim-running shot blocker. I

wuchukwu suffered a cardiac incident the summer before his freshman year at USC. He also had a back injury that season which in part limited him to 14 games.

But last year, he appeared in 31 games, making 11 starts, and averaged 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds for the Trojans.

“It was a learning curve for me. I took big steps this year, whether people see it or not,” he said. “I felt I grew as a player, I grew as a young man. I’m ready to have those things translate into a bigger way next year. … I’m a winner and I just want to be able to show I’m a winner. I’ve had a couple of learning lessons throughout my last two years. I’m just ready to have a big year for the school.”

On X, Pitino expressed his satisfaction with the addition, writing: “After putting Vince Iwuchukwu through a player development session, I knew we had to have him in a Johnnies uniform. Awesome attitude and work ethic. 7’1, 250, agile, mobile, and shoots the heck out of it. Excited to have him with so much upside and potential!”

The plan is to use him and returning big man Zuby Ejiofor as a two-headed monster at center, according to sources.

They are familiar with one another, having played against each in Texas on the AAU circuit. Ejiofor was his workout partner on the visit.

“Zuby has improved tremendously. He’s gotten so much better,” Iwuchukwu said. “Seeing how much he’s grown as a player and as a person factored into my decision. I think it will be really good playing with him.”

St. John’s now has four open scholarships left, though it is waiting on an NCAA ruling on Jordan Dingle and Chris Ledlum, who have put in waivers for an extra year of eligibility.

The Johnnies are firmly in the mix with a number of transfers — namely North Texas wing Aaron Scott, Texas forward Dillon Mitchell and Utah point guard Deivon Smith.

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