#115 St. John's Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

St. John’s Red Storm
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #115
Conference Rank: #8 Big East
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A promising 10-2 nonconference record to start the 2017-18 season was derailed after St. John’s lost each of their first 11 Big East games. The Red Storm did end up notching wins over Duke and eventual national champs Villanova, but their season ultimately ended with a 16-17 record. Chris Mullin will look to get St. John’s over the hump in his fourth season with the return of first-team All-Big East member Shamorie Ponds who tested the NBA Draft waters.
2017-18 Record: 16-17, 4-14
2017-18 Postseason: None
Coach: Chris Mullin
Coach Record: 38-60 at St. John’s, 38-60 overall
Key Departed Players:
Marcus LoVett, Guard, 14.9 ppg
Bashir Ahmed, Forward, 11.3 ppg
Tariq Owens, Center, 8.4 ppg

Kassoum Yakwe, Forward, 2.2 ppg
Amar Alibegovic, Forward, 1.6 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Shamorie Ponds, Junior, Guard, 21.6 ppg
Marvin Clark, Senior, Forward, 12.5 ppg
Justin Simon, Junior, Guard, 12.2 ppg

Bryan Trimble Jr., Sophomore, 3.1 ppg 
Key New Players:
Mikey Dixon, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from Quinnipiac
Marcellus Earlington, Freshman, Guard
LJ Figueroa, Sophomore, Forward, Junior College Transfer
Mustapha Heron, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Auburn
Sedee Keita, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from South Carolina
Josh Roberts, Freshman, Forward
Greg Williams, Freshman, Guard
Shamorie Ponds’ return alone should make St. John’s a competitive Big East team. Ponds is an All-Big East talent who is also a potential first-round NBA prospect. Ponds filled the stat sheet as a sophomore, averaging 21.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.3 steals. Marvin Clark and Justin Simon also return after averaging 12+ points last season. Ponds, Clark and Simon give the Red Storm an experienced and talented nucleus. St. John’s will also add transfers Sedee Keita, Mikey Dixon, LJ Figueroa and potentially Mustapha Heron. Dixon averaged 16.5 points as a freshman at Quinnipiac, earning MAAC Rookie of the Year. Keita played 9.6 minutes per game for a Final Four team at South Carolina and Figueroa is a former top-100 recruit. The key to St. John’s success this season could be the eligibility of Mustapha Heron. Heron averaged 16.4 points and 5.3 rebounds for Auburn last season and is attempting to get a hardship waiver to play immediately for St. John’s. Getting to the NCAA Tournament isn’t a far-fetched dream for the Red Storm, especially if Heron becomes eligible.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.1 (192nd in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 72.6 (179, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.4 (248,9)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.0 (65, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.0 (239, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.9 (291, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.1 (73, 7)
Rebound Margin: -5.9 (335, 10)
Assists Per Game: 12.8 (237, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.9 (90, 4)
Madness 2019 NBA Draft Rankings:
#58 Shamorie Ponds