St. John’s Lands Heralded Forward Kassoum Yakwe

Kassoum Yawke, a native of Mali who this summer was named the Defensive Player of the Year for the talent-loaded Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) circuit, gave St. John’s a commitment. According to the Red Storm, he has signed with the program and is expected enroll this fall semester.

Below is the full release from the St. John’s communications department:

Head Coach Chris Mullin received his ninth commitment since his arrival at St. John’s in April with the signing of nationally-coveted forward Kassoum Yakwe [Bamako, Mali/Our Savior New American (NY)]. The 6-foot-7, consensus Top-100 recruit will enroll at the University for the fall semester.


Yakwe is a four-star prospect who rated as high as No. 57 by major national recruiting services. The Bamako, Mali, native averaged 10 points and four rebounds per game last season playing high school ball at Our Savior New American in Centereach, N.Y.


“We are excited to welcome Kassoum to St. John’s University and our basketball program. He possesses tremendous athleticism, has good instincts and will be a defensive presence,” said Mullin. “Kassoum is humble and has an endearing personality which are important characteristics for team building. I look forward to working closely with him as he continues his basketball development.”


On the AAU circuit, Yakwe was named the 2015 Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) Defensive Player of the Year, averaging 3.1 blocks and 6.3 rebounds in 15 games for the PSA Cardinals and head coach Terrance Williams. Yawke collected All-Tournament Second Team honors at the prestigious EYBL Peach Jam in July. Over five games at the Peach Jam, Yakwe nearly averaged a double-double, finishing with 9.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. He shot 67.9 percent from the field and recorded 5.0 blocks per contest.


Yakwe enhances St. John’s 2015 recruiting class which ranked 39th in the nation according to prior to his signing with the Red Storm. The new-look St. John’s roster also includes incoming freshmen Malik Ellison (Voorhees, N.J.)Federico Mussini (Reggio, Emilia, Italy)Marcus LoVett, Jr. (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Yankuba Sima (Girona, Spain), junior college transfer Darien Williams (San Francisco, Calif.), and graduate transfers Durand Johnson (Baltimore, Md.)from Pittsburgh and Ron Mvouika (Paris, France) from Missouri State. Tariq Owens (Odenton, Md.) also transferred to St. John’s after one season at Tennessee, and per NCAA transfer regulations must complete one full academic year of residency before competing for the Red Storm.