Mike Anderson has his first big recruiting win, and it’s a name familiar to St. John’s fans.
LJ Figueroa is staying at the Queens school after flirting with transferring, he announced on Instagram. A source confirmed he will be returning for his junior season after taking his name out of the transfer portal on Wednesday, giving the new St. John’s coach a key player to build around.
Figueroa posted a photo of last year’s team and wrote: “Letssss Get right back to itttt,” with two red-heart emojis.
The 6-foot-6 Figueroa heard from a host of schools, programs like UConn, Kansas, Florida and Georgia, and visited Western Kentucky. But he would have likely had to sit out a year had he gone elsewhere, unless he received a waiver.
The versatile forward was arguably the Red Storm’s most consistent player this past season, averaging 14.4 points, a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game and shooting 51.3 percent from the field. A source said Figueroa told Anderson and his staff the news Wednesday. Anderson had stressed to Figueroa his importance to the program, saying he would be a focal point of what they wanted to do next year. At his best in transition, Figueroa could thrive in Anderson’s up-tempo pressing style.