Yikes what a year it’s been for the Red Storm. After going 21-10 in the 2104-2015 season with coach Lavin, St. Johns, and Lavin agreed to part ways with Lavin, having one year left on his contract. Now at first I was upset because I liked Coach Lavin, and he got the Red Storm into the big dance, 2 times in the last 5 years. But when I heard who was replacing him, my frown turned upside down. Hall of famer, and St. Johns Alum, Chris Mullin. Oh man I was seriously jumping, and skipping (yes skipping don’t judge) all around my house. This guy is a winner, and is known as one of the smartest basketball players to ever play the game. If anyone knows how to win in New York it’s this guy.
No Big Named Players=No Big Wins
With Chris Obekpa transferring, and only having a few players returning, it was almost a fact that Chris Mullin would struggle in his first year. The Johnnies had an 8-24 season (1-17 in big east) that makes St. Johns fans want to be hiding under a rock and waiting for new faces to wear the red and black jersey next season. But let’s get into the players that wore them last season. The leading scorer, Durand Johnson only was scoring 12 points a game, and shooting 37% from the court, and 32% from downtown. If you look at the rest of the big easy (besides Creighton and Xavier that had one dominant scorer), they all had at least 2 guys scoring higher than Johnson. St. Johns had trouble simply putting the ball in the hoop. It doesn’t help at all that the Jonnies weren’t a deep team at all. The Red Storm were a 4 man deep team, Johnson, Mussini, Jones, and Mvouika, and let’s be honest here, they would be great pieces coming off the bench on a deep team, but with a 8-24 record sure doesn’t sound like they’re ready to be playing Villanova and those boys. Any team that had a decent man to man defense won’t give them trouble. I will say this though; the Johnnies were (like always) rim protectors with Yakwe, and Sima leading the Big East in blocks with over 2 a game. And yes I know they beat Syracuse but come on; Syracuse was going through hell with that whole Jim Boeheim suspension fiasco. St. Johns would beat them 1 time if they played 100 times. They just got lucky that their 1 chance to win was that day.
Now for those who don’t know, I coach a rec middle school team and I HATE when we can’t get the fundamentals right and go back to old habits. Now that’s a middle school and I understand that they are young and still learning the game, but what’s St. Johns excuse? You guys are a division 1 basketball team and you can’t hit free throws, or take smart shots? 63% FROM THE FREE THROW LINE? IT’S FREE THROWS. I will never be able to understand if you’re a D1 basketball player or in the NBA and you can’t at least hit 75% at the line. It’s the second easiest shot in the game and you can’t hit it when it counts? Dead last in the conference by the way for those who were wondering. Oh yeah, did I tell you that they were 2nd to last place in the conference in 3 point shooting and DEAD LAST in shooting in general. This drives me crazy as a coach, and a fan, so I can only imagine how mad Chris Mullin was. There was no ball movement either to put the cherry on top. Let’s just say I’m ready for a new season.
To be honest here, I like what Mullin is doing here. Getting solid transfers in Marvin Clark from Michigan State, and Justin Simon from Arizona. Also suiting up for the Johnnies will be 4 star recruit Shamorie Ponds, Juco product Bashir Ahmed, and the 6’8 kid from Germany Richard Freudenberg. How good will these guys become? To be honest here I don’t know, but with Chris Mullin in charge, I have a good feeling about this group. Heck, anything is better than last year. The Johnnies can only go up from here.