#98 St. John's Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

St. John’s Red Storm

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #98
Conference Rank: #8 Big East

St. John's Team Page#98 St. John's Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy St. John's Basketball Tickets

St. John’s was so close to an NCAA Tournament berth last season. At one point they won nine of ten games right in the heart of Big East play. But a loss to Providence in their opening game of the Big East Tournament sent the Red Storm to the NIT. Once there, St. John’s lost to eight seed Belmont. That is not the momentum Coach Steve Lavin wants heading into 2014-2015.

2013-14 Record: 20-13, 10-8
2013-14 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Steve Lavin
Coach Record: 71-60 at St. John’s, 216-138 overall

Who’s Out:
JaKarr Sampson left early for the professional ranks. The 6-9 forward averaged 12.8 points and 6.1 rebounds. St. John’s will not have an easy time replacing his interior scoring. It does not help that Orlando Sanchez graduated. After Sampson, he was the best rebounder on the team. Sanchez has never been much of an interior scorer, but he could stretch out the defense with his outside shooting ability. God’sgift Achiuwa, Marc-Antoine Bourgault and Max Hooper are the other departures. All three were role players who did not even average over nine minutes per game, yet Hooper, who opted to transfer, was a potent three-point shooter off of the bench.

Who’s In:
With Sampson and Sanchez gone, Coach Lavin needed to bring in some options to play power forward. And that is what he did. Junior college transfer Keith Thomas is an absolute beast on the glass. At Westchester Community College he led the Division I level of the junior college ranks in rebounding and once grabbed 33 rebounds in a single game. While Thomas may not be a great scorer, he is an asset on the offensive end and is a very good passer in the paint. Incoming freshman Adonis Delarosa can throw around his big 6-11, 270 pound frame. It may take a little time for his offense to come around, but in the meantime he can help out in the rebounding department and eat space and minutes in the paint.

Who to Watch:
D’Angelo Harrison is the star of this team. He pulled everything together last season and averaged 17.5 points and knocked down 37.0 percent of his many attempts from beyond the arc. As long as Harrison keeps it up, St. John’s will be in the mix in the Big East, but there is a long way to go for this team. Seniors Phil Greene and Sir’Dominic Pointer will join Harrison in the backcourt. Greene cut down his shot taking last season, but was much, much more efficient. His three-point shooting percentage went from 22.7 in 2012-2013 to 40.0 percent in 2013-2014. The opposition can no longer sit back when Greene has the ball in his hands and just cover his drive and dish skills. Pointer still has some work to do on his offensive game and is not a shooting threat, but he can score around the basket. Rysheed Jordan had a very promising freshman campaign, averaging 9.7 points and a team high 3.0 assists. He will once again push Greene for minutes at the point and provide Coach Lavin with multiple ball handling options. With Jamal Branch adding even more depth at the point, expect Greene to spend quite a bit of time at the off guard spot with Harrison sliding over to the three.

Final Projection:
The backcourt is in great shape, but the frontcourt is very thin. Chris Obekpa averaged about 20 minutes per game as a freshman and the 6-9 center will have to do even more with no other frontcourt experience. That will put a lot of pressure on Obekpa and newcomers Thomas and Delarosa. The frontcourt is all theirs and if they are not ready, Coach Lavin will have to play small more than would be ideal in the Big East. As a result, St. John’s may not be close to winning 20 games again this time around.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Phil Greene, Senior, Guard, 7.4 points per game
D’Angelo Harrison, Senior, Guard, 17.5 points per game
Sir’Dominic Pointer, Senior, Guard, 5.9 points per game
Keith Thomas, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Chris Obekpa, Junior, Center, 3.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.8 (110th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.7 (110, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.5 (56, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.9 (51, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.0 (297, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage:
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.9 (173, 6)
Rebound Margin: 0.5 (178, 8)
Assists Per Game: 13.2 (126, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.7 (48, 3)

Madness 2015 NBA Draft Rankings:
#40 Rysheed Jordan


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