#144 St. John's Men's Basketball 2012-13 Preview

St. John’s Red Storm

2012-2013 Overall Rank: #144
Conference Rank: #14 Big East
St. John's Men's College Basketball 2012-2013 Team Preview
St. John's Team Page


It was a tough year for St. John’s. Coach Steve Lavin was off the sidelines for most of the year after defeating cancer and only one player was back from the squad that reached the 2011 NCAA Tournament and he did not even last the entire season. So all the new faces, no matter how talented, got together and had a tough go of it in the Big East. A year older and a year wiser, the Red Storm should see improvement, but the Big East is not getting any easier.

2011-12 Record: 13-19, 6-12
2011-12 Postseason: none
Coach: Steve Lavin
Coach Record: 34-31 at St. John’s, 179-109 overall

Who’s Out:
Losing Moe Harkless after one season does not make things any easier for a team that failed to find a real identity in 2011-2012. Harkless proved to be a superb wing, averaging 15.5 points and 8.6 rebounds. His success led to a spot in the NBA, but it has also left St. John’s without their superstar. Nurideen Lindsey, another one of those great newcomers from the class of 2011, started nine games and played quite well before opting to transfer. Malik Stith, the lone returning player from the NCAA Tournament team lasted 23 games before leaving for personal reasons. Unlike Lindsey, Stith’s absence was manageable, but by the end of the year St. John’s was lucky if they could go six deep. Now they should have some depth.

Who’s In:
They may have depth with another big group of newcomers, but compared to the class of 2011, the newcomers of 2012 are disappointing. The addition of three players with some experience should help move things along a little quicker than last season. Jamal Branch, a transfer from Texas A&M, will be eligible in December. He is a quick combo guard who will likely spend most of his time backing up the point guard spot this year. Marco Bourgault and Orlando Sanchez bring experience from the junior college ranks. Bourgault is a big 6-6 wing who can shoot. Injuries have been a problem in the past, but Bourgault has the potential to be a great shooter in the Big East. Sanchez should be able to handle the Big East right away on the defensive end. Any offense he can provide will be a bonus. Felix Balamou, Darrick Wood and Jakarr Sampson are the three incoming freshmen. Of that group Sampson is the one carrying the most potential to make an immediate impact. Sampson is another long, athletic combo forward. At 6-8 and 209 pounds, he could be a slightly stronger version of Harkless…or so the Red Storm hopes.

Who to Watch:
The players left from Coach Lavin’s original not so cleverly named “Notable Nine” recruiting class will likely begin the season as the starting five. With four sophomores and one senior, this is still a young group. Phil Greene was forced into the starting point guard job role early in the season and did an admirable job. He is not much of a shooter, but at least he can keep the turnovers down. D’Angelo Harrison will join Greene in the backcourt. Harrison is easily the best shooter on this team and he should have been the only player allowed to shoot a long ball last season. Harrison can handle the ball too, but St. John’s needs him to be a scorer and he can be a big time scorer after averaging 17.0 points per game as a freshman. Amir Garrett was not able to join the Johnnies until the spring semester, but he proved to be an important addition. A superb athlete, who signed with the Cincinnati Reds before going to St. John’s, Garrett has the athleticism that matched the rest of the big wings that ended up at St. John’s last season. Like everybody else, Sir’Dominic Pointer went through some freshman troubles on the court. Most notably he was, and will again, be stuck out of position. He is a pretty good rebounder and a fine defender, but he is more of a wing than a power forward. But Pointer proved to be a valuable asset even if his scoring production was a little disappointing.

Final Projection:
God’sgift Achiuwa had some junior college experience coming into last season and the Johnnies hoped that he would emerge as a leader. That never really happened and Achiuwa lost his starting job to Garrett by the end of the season. However, Achiuwa is a true post player on a team that is full of big wings. Often he got left behind as the Red Storm ran up and down the floor. This is an offense that needs to work through Achiuwa more often. He is a very good interior scorer and a decent rebounder. On the defensive end he has the potential to be a great shot blocker, but that rarely was shown during his first season in Jamaica, New York. With the bevy of newcomers joining the returning talent, St. John’s should have more depth this season and that will prove to be very important. By the end of the 2011-2012 campaign, the freshmen were running out of gas. As sophomores and with that increased depth, this could be a dangerous team by March, but the Big East may beat up on them until then if the team chemistry does not come together quickly.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Phil Greene, Sophomore, Guard, 7.6 points per game
D’Angelo Harrison, Sophomore, Guard, 17.0 points per game
Amir Garrett, Sophomore, Forward, 7.4 points per game
Sir’Dominic Pointer, Sophomore, Forward, 6.6 points per game
God’sgift Achiuwa, Senior, Forward, 9.4 points per game

Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#118 Jakarr Sampson


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