Kadary Richmond transfers from Seton Hall to St. John's

The highlight reel Kadary Richmond is taking to St. John's (1:21)

Check out the top plays from Kadary Richmond at Seton Hall last season. (1:21)

Former Seton Hall guard Kadary Richmond, the No. 1 player in the transfer portal, has committed to St. John's and coach Rick Pitino, he told ESPN on Tuesday.

"They were big on life after basketball and player development," Richmond said. "That stood out to me, the way they kept it real from day one. They are going to allow me to showcase my ability and become a better basketball player and person. I'd like to make a long run deep into the NCAA tournament and eventually win a national championship. I'm ready to get to work and see what Coach Pitino has in store."

Richmond visited Oklahoma over the weekend and said he also considered Syracuse, Miami and USC, but a chance for the Brooklyn native to stay close to home and play for Pitino was too much to pass up.

"Seeing what [Knicks star] Jalen Brunson is doing for New York City right now, winning in New York is a big thing," Richmond said. "I want to be a part of that."

A 6-foot-6 point guard, Richmond immediately moved to No. 1 in ESPN's transfer rankings upon his entrance into the portal in late April. He earned first-team All-Big East honors after averaging 15.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists and leading Seton Hall to an NIT championship. He had 20-plus points nine times in Big East play, including a triple-double against Creighton, when he finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. In three games against Pitino and St. John's this past season, Richmond averaged 14.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

Richmond was terrific in the postseason, posting 21 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists in the NIT title game against Indiana State. He averaged 13.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists in five NIT games.

After spending one season at Syracuse in 2020-21, Richmond transferred to Seton Hall. He started 85 games over three years, but his true breakout campaign didn't come until this past season. Richmond showed flashes of this level of production down the stretch of his 2022-23 season with the Pirates, averaging 12.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists in his final eight healthy games before suffering a back injury.

"I'll always appreciate the coaching staff at Seton Hall for giving me the freedom to put myself in this position," Richmond said. "I wish them the best."

Richmond is St. John's second critical portal addition in as many days, after Utah transfer Deivon Smith committed on Monday. Smith, a 6-foot point guard, averaged 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists this past season, ranking sixth nationally in the latter category. He also shot nearly 41% from 3-point range.

A backcourt of Richmond and Smith should be among the best in the country, combining two elite playmakers who can score in contrasting ways. It could be Pitino's best guard duo since Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led Louisville to the national championship in 2013.

"I like the additions we've put together," Richmond said. "Deivon Smith is also all about winning and making winning plays. RJ Luis is someone I've played against, he's a competitor. Same with Vincent Iwuchukwu. The pieces are aligning. I like the vision that was put together."

Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and international teams.