After a topsy turvy coaching search, St. John's has finally found its man.
The school named former Arkansas, Missouri and UAB coach Mike Anderson its new coach on Friday morning. Anderson will replace Chris Mullin, who parted ways with the team April 9.
Anderson, 59, is 369-200 (.649) in his career with nine NCAA Tournament appearances. He was fired by Arkansas last month after posting an 18-16 campaign and leading the Razorbacks to the NIT. Anderson led Missouri to the Elite Eight in 2009.
"In my evaluation, we have not sustained a consistent level of success against the most competitive teams in the nation to enable us to compete for SEC and NCAA championships on an annual basis," Arkansas AD Hunter Yurachek said last month in a statement. "That will continue to be the benchmark for our success throughout our athletic program.
"During his tenure with our program, Mike Anderson has represented the University of Arkansas in a first-class manner and with the highest level of integrity on and off the floor," Yurachek said. "We are grateful for Coach Anderson's many contributions to our program and most of all for his investment in the lives of the many student-athletes he has coached."
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Anderson will need to hire a staff familiar with New York's high school and AAU teams, as well as those in New Jersey and the rest of the Northeast.
"If he hires the right staff he will be great at St. John's," said Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello, whose team won the New York Catholic League title.
"From a distance, it looks like his teams play hard and he knows what he's doing. He just needs the right coaching staff to get the right players."
"He has won everywhere he has been," said Archbishop Stepinac coach Pat Massaroni, whose team won the New York State Federation title in 2018. "The key will be hiring the right staff. His style of play and the proper staff can get St. John's back to the level all New Yorkers want."
Said Terrance "Munch" Williams, the director of the loaded PSA Cardinals AAU program: "He uses a great style of play that fits New York City. He will force the young fellas to play defense and win on that side of the court. A huge hire for him right now would be Jay David from the NY Jayhawks."
St. John's targeted Anderson after also meeting Thursday with Yale's James Jones and former Georgia Tech and George Mason coach Paul Hewitt. Both were informed they're no longer in the mix, per sources.
St. John's also missed out on Arizona State's Bobby Hurley and Loyola's Porter Moser after both opted to stay at their current schools. The school also reached out to UMBC's Ryan Odom, while Iona's Tim Cluess withdrew Thursday morning.
Meantime, the NCAA late signing period began Wednesday and the first live recruiting period is April 26-28.
St. John's has already lost several players from its roster, including juniors Shamorie Ponds and Justin Simon, who declared for the NBA Draft, while freshman Bryan Trimble and sophomore L.J. Figueroa have entered the transfer portal. Class of 2019 junior college recruits Cam Mack and Valdir Manuel have both re-opened their recruitments.