St. John's Men's Basketball 2013 NIT Tournament Capsule

St. John’s Red Storm
Big East (16-15, 8-10)


St. John’s has had an interesting couple of seasons.  Coach Steve Lavin has left the team for multiple stretches over the last two years due to cancer treatment and the death of his father.  It is not easy to concentrate and win in those types of situations.  The Red Storm have actually held their own in the Big East, teetering around .500.  Their out of conference resume leaves a lot to be desired.  Lavin had a recruiting boon when he came in a few years ago.  The rest of the Big East has gotten better as well.  It is clear that St. John’s still has some work to do before it is all the way back to its winning ways.

Big Wins: 1/5 at Cincinnati (53-52), 1/15 Notre Dame (67-63), 2/6 Connecticut (71-65)
Bad Losses: 11/16 vs Murray State (67-72), 12/4 at San Francisco (65-81), 12/21 UNC Asheville (65-72)
Coach: Steve Lavin (3 seasons at St. John’s)

Why They Can Surprise:
The biggest benefit for the Red Storm is the fact that they play in the Big East.  The competition is so great that it is hard to imagine them finding a more difficult stretch in any postseason tournament than they face during the regular season.  For as poor as this team has played at times, they do lead the nation in blocked shots per game.  They knock around between seven and eight shots per game.  Chris Obekpa is the nation’s second leading shot-blocker at over four per game.  They certainly have the interior protected.  They are also not bad as an all-around defense.  Opposing shooters only hit 39.7 percent of their shots from the field.  They do have some elite scorers that lead the way for them.  Jakarr Sampson also averages nearly 15 points per contest.  The team is young and future looks bright.  They also hold onto the ball fairly well (only 11 turnovers per game).

Why They Can Disappoint:
St. John’s is not great at much of anything else.  They are not a great scoring team overall.  They only shoot 41.8 percent from the field, which puts them in the lower half of the conference.  What is worse is their three-point shooting.  They are eighth worst in the entire country in making three-pointers.  When they cannot score they cannot win.  They also allow too many open shooters on the perimeter.  It is a tough combination for them to be so poor offensively behind the arc and not being able to stop anybody either.  They have some size to them as evidenced by the shot blockers, but that same size cannot seem to swallow up rebounds.  They generally lose the battle on the glass and provide second chance opportunities to their opponents.  The poor shooting from the charity stripe is more costly to a team like St. John’s.  They have a hard enough time scoring from the field.  Giving away free points is not a luxury the Red Storm have.

Probable Starters:
Jamal Branch, Freshman, Guard, 6.2 ppg, 2.6 apg
Phil Greene IV, Sophomore, Guard, 9.8 ppg, 2.6 apg
Sir’Dominic Pointer, Sophomore, Guard-Forward, 6.7 ppg, 2.7 apg, 5.5 rpg
Jakarr Sampson, Freshman, Forward, 14.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg
Chris Obekpa, Freshman, Forward-Center, 3.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.1 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Amir Garrett, Sophomore, Guard-Forward, 5.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Felix Balamou, Freshman, Guard, 2.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 65.7 (220th in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.3 (166, 13)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.8 (246, 11)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.7 (47, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 3.8 (336, 15)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: n/a
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.0 (313, 15)
Rebound Margin: -3.7 (297, 14)
Assists Per Game: 12.5 (189, 12)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.3 (31, 4)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
St. John's    2011    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Gonzaga
St. John's    2010    NIT        First Round loss to Memphis
St. John's    2009    CBI        First Round loss to Richmond
St. John's    2003    NIT        First round win over Boston U
St. John's    2003    NIT        Second round win over Virginia
St. John's    2003    NIT        Quarterfinal win over UAB
St. John's    2003    NIT        Semifinal win over Texas Tech
St. John's    2003    NIT        Final win over Georgetown
St. John's    2002    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Wisconsin

*all team stats through 3/10


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules