Fordham Center Joel Soriano Announces Transfer to St. John’s University

Soriano, the team’s rebound leader this past season, announced earlier this week he would be taking his talents to Queens to play for the Red Storm



Joel Soriano’s departure from the Fordham basketball team continues the trend of Fordham losing basketball talent to transfers.


In recent years, Fordham basketball has locally become synonymous with two storylines: lackluster performances during the season and young stars transferring to more promising programs in the offseason. The pattern continued this week as sophomore center and emerging team leader Joel Soriano, formerly Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’23 but now SJU ’23, announced his commitment to St. John’s University, adding himself to the long list of Fordham “what-ifs.”

Soriano, a Yonkers native, was a top player ever since he first stepped foot on the court of the Rose Hill Gymnasium last season. In his freshman season, Soriano started the final 11 games, averaging a near double-double with 9.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, creating a solid offensive presence in the paint. The 6’10” center’s success transferred over to this past season, where he became the Rams’ full-time big man, averaging 10.4 points and 9.2 rebounds, the team’s second-highest scorer and leader in boards per game. 

With his departure, the Rams are now left with a current, much shorter team of 10 players, nine of whom are listed as guards, the tallest one standing 6-and-a-half-feet tall. New head coach Kyle Neptune comes from a Villanova program that produced and ran a top-tier basketball program through incredibly strong guard play. However, basketball has always been a game of height, and while Neptune enters the Bronx with valuable experience, he will face a serious challenge filling the void down low in his first seasons on the Rams’ sideline. 

Rising senior forward Onyi Eyisi, FCRH ’22, is certainly capable of filling that space, but with little experience starting aside from his sophomore season, he does not appear to be the sole answer to this gaping hole in the Rams’ game plan. During his press conference, Neptune discussed the importance of bringing in and keeping local recruits to a program that has a history of struggling in that area. This will be Neptune’s chance to showcase his abilities in this realm and perhaps utilize his Villanova charm to bolster the team’s forward presence with a transfer of its own. 

The departure of Fordham’s best basketball talent is not a new sensation for the program. Most notably, forward Eric Paschall entered the transfer portal after just one season in the Bronx, coincidentally joining Neptune at Villanova where he would help lead the Wildcats to a national championship during the 2017-18 campaign. More recently, former four-star recruit Nick Honor joined Fordham as a top guard in the class of 2018, but left just one season later to join a Clemson Tigers’ team that received an NCAA tournament bid this past season.    

As an alumnus of Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York, the 25-mile trip to St. John’s keeps Soriano close to home. The transfer also nearly guarantees Soriano continues as a starter in Queens, as St. John’s fills a gap they had at center this past season. Despite missing a true center like Soriano, the Johnnies still finished in fourth place in a talented Big East conference. Adding the Fordham big man will provide a strong paint presence, putting them near the top tier of their conference.

Soriano was certainly the bright spot of a disappointing Rams’ basketball program last season. His intensity and grittiness were constantly admired by his teammates and coaching staff. In a press conference from this past season, former head coach Jeff Neubauer commented on his court presence, saying, “Joel’s leadership kept his teammates around.” 

While he will trade in his burgundy uniform for the crimson red of St. John’s, his Twitter announcement thanked the Ramily (Fordham Rams) “for taking me in and making me into the man and player I am today.” As is life, a new chapter awaits the talented center. 

All the basketball program, administration and fans can do is wish Soriano the best as he continues his promising basketball career in Queens. Meanwhile, a fresh chapter will begin in the Bronx this coming season as Neptune and the Rams prepare to tackle a host of new obstacles.