St. John's head coach Steve Lavin isn't quite ready to return to the team on a full-time basis, but he's getting closer. Lavin, who underwent prostate cancer surgery on October 6th, has missed all practices and games since. Associate head coach Mike Dunlap has served as his stand-in.
On Tuesday, Lavin returned to Queens for the Red Storm's practice for the the first time since the surgery. Until now, the details surrounding his ongoing recovery and expected return have been kept under wraps. The exact date of his return to the sidelines remains unknown.
Lavin released a statement on Tuesday evening updating his current status and commending his players and staff.
"I'm definitely feeling closer to full strength, and eager for return to the sidelines, said Lavin. "I've been pleased with the progress made by our young team. During this period of recuperating, Coach Dunlap and the staff have worked in an impressive, collaborative manner to prepare our team for the challenges ahead."
Lavin continued via RedStormSports.com, "I have been monitoring the team's progress by watching DVDs of practices and games. I have also been in contact via iPhone, text and email with our coaches, student-athletes and recruits. Naturally we still have much to do in terms of implementing our system and style of play, but the effort from this team has been outstanding."
Lavin seems happy with the way in which the team is developing in his absence. They must be playing a cohesive brand of basketball.
St. John's defeated William & Mary on Monday night in its first game as a collective group. It is expected that Dunlap and the rest of the staff will guide the Red Storm for the immediate future, which begins Wednesday night when the Johnnies host Lehigh at Carnesseca Arena.
If Lavin went through multiple iPhones last season, how many is he ripping through this time around?
There is no doubt that the young Red Storm already exhibit many of the on-court systematic qualities that would be implemented if their head coach were present. Even though Lavin hasn't been working with this team in person, it has his name written all over it.