Moser turns down St. John's, will stay at Loyola

Loyola-Chicago's Porter Moser has turned down an offer to coach the St. John's men's basketball team, electing to remain with the team he guided to the 2018 Final Four as an 11-seed.

Moser informed his team Tuesday afternoon that he planned to stay with the Ramblers. He later issued a statement via Twitter in which he said he is "all in" with Loyola.

The Ramblers went 20-14 this season and won a share of the Missouri Valley Conference title. Loyola lost to Creighton in the first round of the NIT in the school's second straight postseason appearance.

"We couldn't be more excited to continue to have Porter Moser lead our men's basketball program and have said all along that he is the perfect fit for Loyola," athletic director Steve Watson said in a statement. "Porter's accomplishments here, especially over the last five years, speak for themselves, and most importantly, he has achieved success by doing things the right way with high-character student-athletes."

A Chicago-area product, Moser is 141-125 in eight seasons at Loyola. He agreed in April to a new contract that runs through the 2025-26 season.

St. John's has been on the hunt for a new coach since Chris Mullin announced last week that he was stepping down. The school's reported top target, Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley, said Friday that he was staying with the Sun Devils.

St. John's could still have Iona's Tim Cluess on its list. He has discussed the job with the Red Storm, sources told ESPN's Jeff Borzello, but athletic director Mike Cragg turned to Moser after Hurley turned down the job.

Cluess is a New York native who played for two seasons at St. John's, from 1979 to 1981, and has led Iona to six NCAA tournaments in nine seasons with the Gaels. He's believed to have a significant buyout, however, and the Red Storm could turn elsewhere.

The coach who replaces Mullin will have a roster in flux. Leading scorer Shamorie Ponds turned pro after the season ended, and Marvin Clark was a senior. The Red Storm's top recruit, highly touted junior college point guard Cam Mack, recently requested his release from the school, and four-star junior Nate Tabor decommitted in the wake of Mullin's departure. There are no 2019 or 2020 prospects currently committed to St. John's.

Meanwhile, St. John's redshirt junior Justin Simon has signed with an agent and declared for the NBA draft. Simon was one of the best defenders in the country and would have been a top returnee for the next coach. Additionally, sophomore guards Bryan Trimble Jr. and LJ Figueroa have entered their names into the transfer portal.

There is a solid core on the roster, though. Mustapha Heron (14.6 points per game) has eligibility left. Transfers Eli Wright (Mississippi State), David Caraher (Houston Baptist) and Ian Steere (NC State) sat out this past season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.