Season In Review: St. John’s Red StormPosted by Dan Lyons on April 29th, 2013
St. John’s 17-16 season saw some highs – wins over #14 Cincinnati and #20 Notre Dame – and plenty of lows - the Red Storm dropped eight of their last 10 games en route to an 8-10 conference season and an 11th place conference finish. In postseason play, St. John’s dropped its first game of the Big East Tournament in the second round against Villanova and advanced to the second round of the NIT with a win over Saint Joseph’s before falling to Virginia.
Here at the Big East microsite, we had St. John’s ninth in our preseason rankings, citing their youthful talent and athleticism as reasons for optimism, but we believed the team was still a year or so away from the NCAA Tournament. The Big East coaches had St. John’s ranked 10th in their preseason poll.
D’Angelo Harrison (17.8 PPG) and Jakarr Sampson (14.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG) were two of the more underrated players in the conference last season, and should only continue to get better. Sir’Dominic Pointer was an effective slasher for the Johnnies, shooting 51% from the field. Phil Greene IV regularly scored in double digits and became a solid third option for Steve Lavin’s squad, while Chris Obekpa was one of the nation’s premier shot-blockers, swatting four shots per game.
Harrison never quite became the leader that Lavin expected him to be. The explosive guard was suspended for the final six games of the season after a ”pattern of failing to meet expected standards for conduct and behavior.” Without Harrison on the perimeter, the Red Storm had very little punch from behind the arc. As a team, they shot 27.1 percent from three-point range, and Harrison made 58 of the team’s 120 shots from distance. The team was also among the worst in the country in assists, ranking 203rd in the NCAA with just 12.3 dimes per game.
Harrison, Sampson, and the rest of the key players for St. John’s will return next season. Lavin also adds a huge new piece in incoming freshman Rysheed Jordan, a five-star point guard from Philadelphia who was also coveted by schools like UCLA and Temple. Harrison is already excited about the prospects of next year’s edition of the Red Storm and playing with Jordan: “We’re gonna be just as deep as the Louisville team was this year. We have a lot of talent. I might not even start next year — I don’t know how it’s gonna work. But we’re gonna be really good though. I’m excited.” St. John’s moves on to the new Big East along with the rest of the Catholic universities, which should be a challenging but more manageable league for the Red Storm. In the same ESPN New York article, Sampson laid out the expectations for the 2013-14 Johnnies: “Obviously we’ll want to make the Big Dance… hopefully we can do big things next year.”