Photo courtesy of Dylan Wusu.
By David Cordova
This month, we are starting a series called, “Coming Into The Season,” in which every week, we will chronicle some of the best players in the tri-state area and beyond. This fifth installment is on Posh Alexander and Dylan Wusu, two senior guards out of Our Savior Lutheran High School in The Bronx that are currently signed to St. John’s University.
Ever since Mike Anderson took the job as head coach at St. John’s University on April 19th, things have been on the up & up. The Red Storm are currently 11-2 on the season and have beaten teams such as West Virginia and Arizona, then the No. 16 team in the nation.
However, what’s most important is the rapport he has built with the New York City basketball community, as he and his assistant coaches, Van Macon and T.J. Cleveland, have been omnipresent at high school games, practices and open gyms.
In his introductory press conference at Madison Square Garden, he made it perfectly clear that he wanted to establish a presence in the city when it came to recruiting local players.
“I want it to be known that we want the best players in our state. We are going to build relationships and we are going to recruit players that fit what we are doing both on and off the floor,” said Anderson, “I think my resume speaks for itself, I think people have had the opportunity to watch me and watch my team’s development, but it all comes back to the relationship. I want to be open and have an opportunity to build some relationships. I want the best players to come to St. John’s. St. John’s is New York’s team.”
So far, he has kept his promise, as he has landed two of the city’s finest guards in Posh Alexander and Dylan Wusu, both of whom are currently seniors at Our Saviour Lutheran High School in the Morris Park section of The Bronx.
Both players are very familiar with each other, as they play outside of school together with the New York Lightning on the Nike EYBL circuit and also on Team Watson in Nike’s NY vs. NY tournament, which they led to the semifinals this summer.
Alexander, who hails from the Brownsville section of Brooklyn and Wusu, who hails from the Highbridge section of The Bronx, both are a potent one-two duo in the backcourt for the Falcons, as they high-level competition throughout the season.
Last season, Alexander played in three games before an arm injury sidelined him for the rest of his junior season. When asked about the injury, he replied, “When I got hurt, it was just hard, it was a bad moment. It was an important moment for me, it was my junior year, and I didn’t want it to go down like that, I wanted to play that year and helped my teammates win a championship and like, bring Coach Pete [Weyhe] a championship, but I got hurt, and it was really at a bad moment.”
In regards to attacking his rehab, he replied, “It was a lot going through my mind, I was just thinking negative about myself, like saying, ‘What if I don’t come back the same?’ And then I started working day by day. Harder and harder every day.”
Once that rehab period was over, Alexander was back in action and ready to go for the Nike EYBL season with the Lightning. “It was a good experience, I’m happy that the Lightning have me another opportunity to play on the EYBL for my last year after the injury, and it was tough getting back on the court. It was too much going on and therefore, I just had to work day by day, just to get back to what I used to be.”
Asked if his confidence level arose from being back on the court, he replied, “I mean, it’s probably still the same, I think I probably got a little more smarter with my game. Like watching Coach Pete coach, watching Coach CJ [Charles Jones], it just helped me out a lot. Like, when I’m on the court, I just do better things and make smart passes and help my team win.”
In Alexander’s absence, Wusu made a name for himself with his explosive ability when going to the rim and his strength. On the Nike EYBL circuit with the Lightning, he averaged 9.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game and helped lead them to the Nike Peach Invitational championship in Augusta, Georgia.
Wusu first attended Sacred Heart High School in Yonkers, New York and averaged 22.8 points in the CHSAA “B” Division. When asked about his time at Sacred Heart, he replied, “It’s basketball, you’ve got to play hard every night, same way over here, it’s just that the competition is better.”
On his time at OSL, he replied, “It’s been really hard, and Coach is on my back, my teammates are on my back, pushing me every day in practice, on & off the court, in class, all around, I got to be a leader.”
On playing a big-time schedule with the Falcons, Wusu added: “Every game is an opportunity to showcase your talent, every night you’ve got to bring it, come out hard and play hard.”
On how he likes playing with Alexander in the backcourt, he added: “Oh, that’s a great point guard, unselfish, he can keep going, score the basketball, his mentality is to pass first and get his teammates involved.”
This spring and summer, Wusu made a name for himself on the EYBL circuit and attracted plenty of attention amongst plenty of Division I coaches. Alexander, who has already been on the map, since his middle school days, already had attention from plenty of schools himself.
But there was one school on the horizon that neither one of them could stray away from: St. John’s. On August 22nd, Alexander was the first of the duo to make his commitment.
“It was just a bunch of love [being shown],” said Alexander about visiting the Red Storm, whose campus is in Jamaica, Queens. “I like the coaching staff, I like the school, and it’s something I’m looking forward to.”
When asked if it was a dream to play in Madison Square Garden or for St. John’s, he added: “It was just basically a dream, I always wanted to go there, I always wanted to play there, I always wanted to play in front of my family and I always wanted to play for a coach that would have my back and always look out for me.”
About a month later, on September 28th, Wusu also decided to join Alexander and made his verbal commitment to play for the Red Storm. When asked about why he chose St. John’s as his destination, he replied, “That’s family, the coaches treated me like a son and they welcomed me [with open arms].”
In the press release, Anderson replied, “Posh and Dylan will be wonderful additions to our basketball family,” said Anderson. “We are very excited they chose to stay home and represent their city at St. John’s in front of family and friends during this next chapter of their basketball careers.The future looks bright for our basketball program with our four commitments during the early signing period. All of these young men are talented players with different skill sets, but most important we believe they will compliment our roster well because they possess key attributes that fit our style of play.”
Also in breaking down both players, he had a great scouting report on them.
“Posh is a prototypical New York City point guard,” said Anderson on Alexander. “He is a gritty player and quality ballhander with great court vision and he likes to get his teammates involved. Not only is Posh a great distributor of the basketball, but he also has a scorer’s mentality, as he can attack the rim and score on the perimeter.”
“Dylan’s physicality and athleticism will greatly benefit our basketball team,”said Anderson of Wusu. “He is a high volume scorer and quality rebounder who can play at our up-tempo pace. Dylan is also a tremendous defensive player who can make a significant impact at that end of the court because of the size and strength he offers at his position.”
When asked what they will bring to St. John’s, both players had very good answers.
Alexander replied, “What I’m fixing to bring is, I want to bring a championship back home and have a good [freshman] season.”
Wusu added, “Play hard every night, and try my best to be a leader on and off the court.”
Just a few months from now, the two Falcons will enroll into college and start workouts. Around this time next year, they will have played through their non-conference schedule as freshmen.
For now, the buzz about local products has brought excitement to the program since the appointment of Anderson as head coach. Two other local players in freshman forward Justin Champagnie and junior guard Rasheem Dunn, both of whom are in the first season with the Red Storm, both hail from different areas of Brooklyn.
As long as St. John’s continues to win and make the NCAA Tournament year after year, the local players will continue to show interest into the Red Storm, and the allure of playing home games at Carnesecca Arena and, for at least seven games a year, Madison Square Garden, will continue to be appealing to kids in New York City.
But as the phrase went in the 1989 film, “Field of Dreams,” “If you build it, people will come.” Right now, for Mike Anderson and the St. John’s Red Storm, as they are moving into Big East play, life has found a way to imitate art.