Iona is taking a risk by hiring Rick Pitino as head coach. In the fallout of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball, the former Louisville and Kentucky head coach will have an NCAA target firmly on his back.
So far, things have gone about as well as the school could have reasonably hoped. Pitino has gone on a recruiting spree, and is building his own core of the Gaels roster. In just five days, Pitino has built a six-man recruiting class.
There’s a ceiling on how much talent you can bring in in that time period. Iona is a good program, but it is also in the MAAC, so it is unlikely he’s going to be competing with big national powers anytime soon. Still, it is a commendable effort so far.
The most recent addition is 6-foot-8 NBA Academy Africa prospect Nelly Junior Joseph. He is the sixth recruit to make that pledge since Sunday. Even without the ability to do much in-person recruiting right now, Rick Pitino has hit the ground running.
It didn't take Rick Pitino long to reel in a six-man recruiting class at Iona. On Thursday, Pitino added his sixth commitment — Nelly Junior Joseph — in five days. | Story: https://t.co/u3SYaO9Hvy pic.twitter.com/ZksVA33gT0
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) March 26, 2020
Nelly Junior Joseph joins guards Ryan Myers and Tahlik Chavez, forwards Berrick JeanLouis and Johan Crafoord, and center Osborn Shema, a 7-foot-1 big man.
None of the six players has a star rating on 247Sports. That isn’t a huge surprise. At this point, Pitino’s best shot is definitely under the radar players, especially with just days to build relationships.
Iona was already one of the best teams in the conference under Tim Cluess, who stepped down due to health issues two weeks ago. Pitino should be able to build on his impressive work.