Iona's Daniss Jenkins blocks a shot by Connecticut's center Donovan Clingan in...

Iona's Daniss Jenkins blocks a shot by Connecticut's center Donovan Clingan in the NCAA Tournament last March. Credit: AP

St. John’s and newly minted men's basketball coach Rick Pitino landed the first of what is expected to be several transfers in Iona point guard Daniss Jenkins.

The 6-4 Jenkins played a key role for the Hall of Fame coach last season with the Gaels in helping them win the MAAC regular season and tourney championships and reach the NCAA Tournament.

Jenkins announced his commitment on Thursday in a social media post and the school announced his signing on Friday.

“Daniss Jenkins is a lightning quick guard who is a tremendous leader on and off the court,” Pitino said. “He is someone we will rely on heavily to lead us into next season.”

When Pitino was introduced as St. John’s new coach last month at Madison Square Garden, he said that he would be bringing in up to eight new players as he reshaped the Storm roster with athletes who fit his ideals and could perform well in his playing style. Eight players from the 2022-23 roster subsequently put their names in the NCAA transfer portal.

St. John’s is involved with several potential transfers, iincluding 6-6 Chris Ledlum from Harvard, who reportedly will be on campus this weekend for a visit. Jenkins is the first to sign on with the Red Storm.

Jenkins averaged 15.6 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds and was selected to the All-MAAC second team last season. He posted a photo of himself in a Red Storm uniform and “Just let me be great!!” in his social media announcement on Thursday afternoon.

Jenkins joins a roster with three players Pitino invited to stay: 6-11 Joel Soriano, 6-8 Drissa Traore and 7-1 Mohamed Keita.

Jenkins has one season of eligibility remaining.

Newsday LogoYour Island. Your Community. Your News.Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months