St. John’s fills massive need with Monmouth’s Nick Rutherford

Mike Anderson

St. John’s has filled its glaring need for a point guard.

Monmouth graduate transfer Nick Rutherford verbally committed to new coach Mike Anderson on Tuesday night, picking the Johnnies over New Mexico State, a source told The Post.

Rutherford is a quality defender who can run a team and is fast — qualities that should enable him to thrive in Anderson’s pressing, up-tempo style. With high-scoring wings LJ Figueroa and Mustapha Heron returning, St. John’s needed a facilitator such, and his pledge enables the staff to bring along freshman point guard Jonathan McGriff slowly.

“His best attribute is his toughness. Very good on-ball defender,” one Division I head coach familiar with Rutherford said. “He’s solid. He’s a tough, tough kid. He’ll get in the lane. He’s gritty. He’s not going to back down from anyone.”

Assistant coach T.J. Cleveland was Rutherford’s lead recruiter.

The 6-foot-3 guard from Indianapolis averaged 5.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals for Monmouth a year ago. He started his career at Florida Atlantic. He had his best season there as a sophomore, posting 9.0 points and 4.3 assists per game.

Rutherford is the fourth player, and first non high school prospect, the new coaching staff has brought in. His commitment leaves St. John’s with one open scholarship left. The new coaching staff plans to fill it, likely with a forward, according to sources.

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