April 21, 2008
QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's head men's basketball coach Norm Roberts announced that guards Larry Wright (Saginaw, Mich.) and Mike Cavataio (Forest Hills, N.Y.) plan to transfer to other institutions following the University's spring semester.
Wright announced his intentions to transfer because of the recent discovery of an illness involving a member of his immediate family. The Red Storm shooting guard averaged 9.1 points per game in 18.9 minutes as a sophomore in 2007-08, and shot 43.4 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from long range.
"I want to thank Coach Roberts for the opportunity to represent St. John's for two years. Coach has helped me become a better player, a better student and a better person," said Wright. "Unfortunately, I feel the need to be close to my family in this situation, and will look for a place to play that is closer to home."
Cavataio played in 17 games as a rookie last season, averaging 1.4 points per contest and 1.2 rebounds in 5.9 minutes.
"I enjoyed my time at St. John's, and I think it was a great experience to have played here," said Cavataio. "I have a great relationship with my coaches and teammates and I wish my team 'good luck' as I head into a new situation, hopefully where I can earn some more minutes and play a bigger role."
"We wish Larry and Mike the best in the future," said Roberts. "Though they are making their decision for different and distinct reasons, they both put in a lot of hard work and effort in representing St. John's basketball, and they both leave our University in good academic standing."
As a fan, it's hard to continually give one's support to a team when the team seems to be in constant turmoil. When players are often leaving. Why does this happen to one team and not another? Is it the coach's personality? Is something untoward happening in practice?
All I know is that when I'm evaluating a job, and I ask about turnover, and I hear people don't stay more than a year or two, that's a big a** red flag. And it's not like the program is launching great careers, not like there have been many big wins...
Perhaps Coach Roberts is too honest with them about playing time. Perhaps he doesn't look at stats. Or the fact that his teams can't score enough to be competitive. Whatever it is, one's best 3-point shooters can't leave the team 2 years in a row. In 4 years it's, what, 8 transfers? Let's see:
Cavataio, Wright (2008),
Avery Patterson, Ricky Torres, Qu'rraan Calhoun (2007),
Dexter Gray, Cedric Jackson (2006),
Rodney Epperson, Tyler Jones (2005).
That's 9, without non qualifiers Derwin Kitchen and Jermaine Maybank.
That's a lot of players. If the Coach is so concerned that the freshman can't become juniors, why doesn't he get players who can stay to become juniors?
How will the kids mature if they keep leaving?
How will recruits want to come if every year a couple of players decide to roll out?
How will St. John's get better on-court results if rotation players are transferring?
This is a terrible blow for the basketball team. It really is. Wright's leaving may have to do with his playing time, along with the issues he mentions in the release; his displeasure with his role was rumored last year. I wish Wright luck and hopes he goes to play for Michigan, where I will cheer him on in an offense that knows how to use a sweet shooter. I guess the "We Love You Larry Wright" Facebook page didn't keep him in.
There will be a Larry Wright profile, like the rest of the profiles on the main page of the blog. In short, I thought Larry was an underutilized and fantastic player. He was credited with defensive deficiencies, but on a team with players who made defensive mistakes, I'm not sure he's as bad as his lack of playing time would indicate he was. He could sneak into the lane for a sweet runner and hit a solid J from the outside. There's a reason he's everyone's favorite.
Cavataio, as mentioned in my earlier post, should have redshirted; with all of the guards on the roster, he never would have won a lot of playing time. I wish him luck, and expect him to stay on the east coast; the Holy Cross basketball fans are discussing him on their message boards (I know because I'm getting a LOT of hits from them today). For them, here's what I think of Cav:
I don't know if he's a brilliant outside shooter. What he can do, however, is slash. And on the Patriot League level, he's not some middling bench player. He's better than advertised, very active on the offensive glass, and should get into the lane for some points. As basketball miles go, he has fresh legs; he sat out a year in high school, and was injured for some of that time. He's got a good court sense and isn't particularly intimidated. Again, that outside shot needs to improve and his release is extremely low. But he's not a bad get.
As for the team, they're not really going to be that much worse without either player, necessarily; they were going to be near the bottom of the Big East standings without some changes in pace and some stronger offensive contributions from some players; the song remains the same, even though the offensively efficient Wright will be gone. Maybe Roberts will, once he receives that extension the Athletic Director says they are discussing, get the players to play in a cohesive winning manner. Maybe he'll pull a Dennis Felton (without the highly rated recruits coming in). That sounds like a longshot but stranger things have happened, I suppose,.
Best of luck to Mikey Cavs and Larry Legend. May your post SJU careers be fruitful.
And I hope the newspapers have a field day with this. The fans, of course, are wildly unhappy, and many of them see the value in a shooter as effective, turnover-free, and able to stretch defenses as Larry Wright.
**EDIT**: Follow this link to a list of completed Player Profiles from this year's Red Storm squad.