St. John’s Head Coach Chris Mullin received commitments from Darien Williams (San Francisco, Calif.), Tariq Owens (Odenton, Md.) and Ron Mvouika (Paris, France) as all three student-athletes have officially signed with the Red Storm. Williams, a 6-foot-8 junior college transfer, and Mvouika, a 6-foot-6 graduate transfer, will be available for the 2015-16 season. The 6-foot-10 Owens comes to St. John’s from Tennessee, and per NCAA transfer regulations, he must complete one full academic year of residency before competing for the Red Storm.
“Darien, Tariq and Ron are part of the new foundation we are in the process of building for our program,” said St. John’s first year head coach Chris Mullin. “These three players add a mix of size, skill and athleticism to our roster, and they all have experience at the collegiate level, which will help offset the graduation of our five-member senior class.”
Williams averaged 16.1 points and 6.7 rebounds in 2013-14 at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa, playing for longtime head coach Jim Morris. He comes to St. John’s with three seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out this past year at City College of San Francisco while recovering from shoulder surgery. During his freshman season at Iowa Western Community College, Williams collected All-Region XI honors and ICCAC Academic All-Region XI recognition. He scored double-figures in 21 games, while shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from 3-point range.
“We are excited to welcome Darien to the St. John’s basketball program,” said Mullin. “He can make an immediate impact next season with his length and ability to shoot the ball. Darien is a versatile player with great character who we believe will represent the program well.”
Williams attended St. John Bosco in Bellflower, Calif., where he helped lead his high school squad to the 2013 California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section (CIFSS) Championship as a senior under head coach Derrick Taylor. The All-Area honoree averaged over eight points and nearly six rebounds playing alongside UCLA guard Isaac Hamilton and his younger brother Daniel Hamilton who plays for Connecticut. Williams was a member of the Dream Vision AAU program.
Owens appeared in 28 games at Tennessee as a freshman, starting five contests and was first off the bench six times. He averaged 7.6 minutes per game and tied for third on the team in blocks (13), including eight in SEC play. Owens started four of 17 SEC appearances and averaged 1.3 points and 1.2 rebounds for the season. In the SEC Tournament quarterfinals against Arkansas, Owens scored a season-high seven points and had three rebounds.
“Our staff looks forward to coaching Tariq,” said Mullin. “He will add a new dimension to our roster with his size and motor on the court. Tariq has a reputation of being a hard worker so we are excited to aid in his development as a player.”
The 210-pound big man was rated the eighth-best prospect in Maryland coming out of high school. He attended St. Vincent Pallotti High School in Laurel, Md., before spending his post-graduate year at Mt. Zion Prep School in Baltimore playing for head coach Rodrick Harrison. Owens played AAU ball for Baltimore’s Finest program.
A graduate transfer from Missouri State, Mvouika appeared in 31 games as a junior in 2013-14, starting nine, and finished fourth on the team in scoring (6.8) and third in rebounding (3.6). He was second on the squad dishing out 54 assists and shot 39.7 percent from 3-point territory. Mvouika averaged 5.5 points in two games for the Bears in 2014-15 before suffering an injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season.
Mvouika spent his first two collegiate seasons at Sheridan College in Wyoming playing for head coach Steve Smiley where he averaged 19.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a sophomore. He was a NJCAA All-Region IX first team honoree in 2012-13 and helped Sheridan to a 24-7 overall record and a Region IX North title. Mvouika averaged 9.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists as a freshman helping Sheridan to a 25-7 record.
“Ron’s veteran leadership will be important for our team next season,” said Mullin. “He has a knack for scoring and ability to make shots at a high percentage. We are glad he chose St. John’s to continue his education and pursue a graduate degree.
Mvouika played for Rob Fulford at Huntington Prep (W. Va.), and prior to his arrival in the United States he averaged 25 points, five rebounds and six assists at the Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain where he played his first three high school years.
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