The "what the holy hell was that" look that Steve Lavin will give one of his young charges at least once per game.
While it's sometimes hard to FIND a physical newsstand in an increasingly digital marketplace, they still exist.
So do the college basketball previews, hitting newsstands this week.
Preview season is a rite of passage for basketball-hungry fans. I know I enjoy seeing what new preview bells and whistles are added... and seeing if the previewers' takes are similar to my early thoughts (many of which were covered in the Mind the Gap series, reviewing losses from each Big East team last year).
Lindy's and Sporting News are the first previews on the newsstands. Below, read a quick summation of what each said about the young St. John's team and comment if you think they're off-base or if they're spot on.
And pick up the preview guides - they do a great job of describing the college basketball landscape and creating the common wisdom that is often debunked by December.
Written by Tom Luicci, Lindy's preview...
- ...ranks St. John's as 10th in the league, but above Rutgers (12th) and Seton Hall (14th). They like Pitt at the top of the league.
- Lindy's dubs the new class the "Notable Nine," which is different than the "Noble Nine" which contributor Ricky uses, or the "Nasty Nine" that someone used on Twitter.
- Of interest: Tom Luicci's research seems to think that D'Angelo Harrison will get first crack at the point guard position w/ a combination of Nurideen Lindsey and Sir'Dominic Pointer. Meanwhile, he uses Rivals' rankings of Norvel Pelle as a top-25 recruit; Pelle and God'sGift Achiuwa get first nods, with Harkless mentioned at the small forward. JaKarr Sampson and Amir Garrett are mentioned afterwards.
- The final analysis: something special will happen down the line, not this year.
Being an unranked team, the take by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ray Fittipaldo is shorter. He...
- ...ranks St. John's as 11th in the league, above Rutgers (12th) and Seton Hall (14th).
- he lauds the recruiting class, mentioning God'sGift Achiuwa as the Junior College prize, with Nurideen Lindsey mentioned just afterwards.
- But he ends with a comment that learning on the job in the Big East is no way to be successful.
What do you think, fair... or foul?
The story of the Red Storm this year will be the freshman class, obviously, and we'll delve deeper into them in the next two weeks.
For me, there's a bit much emphasis on God'sGift Achiuwa. We looked at his game when Achiuwa signed, comparing him to South Florida's Jarrid Famous - a decent player, but not necessarily a game changer. His job: hold down the paint for stretches, especially defensively.
For Gift, my early guess would be about 20 minutes, 5-6 rebounds per game, some put backs, maybe some Justin Brownlee-style post plays. Is that a huge impact? If he's the only one who can do it, yes, but it won't get the fans as excited as huge scoring outbursts.
How will God'sGift do in the paint if Norvel Pelle doesn't qualify?
Can he play 30+ minutes against Big East competition?
Will people use the #GodIsOnOurSide hashtag on Twitter?
Speaking of Pelle, he is listed as a notable freshman who has not qualified for NCAA play via CBS Sports. Combined with his rumored closeness with now-transferred Dwayne Polee, fans have to wonder if he's still coming. To date, neither he nor Amir Garrett are on campus.
Still, the rankings - 10th or lower - seem right for a Red Storm team that will struggle with youth and a lack of size. They might be a LOT better if the youth gels; they probably won't bring up the rear of the conference.