Midday rumble: Lavin's cancer treatment, frosh notes, Darrick Wood, and more

Yesterday's Dribble for the Cure to raise money for pediatric cancer research event seemed to go off very well; it was streamed live on Red Storm Sports and had what was reported to be a good turnout on University Service Day. One of the best things that St. John's has routinely done is to highlight community service, and involve their high-profile sports teams in the efforts; kudos to the administration for that.

Head Coach Steve Lavin will next appear at the Coaches vs. Cancer Dinner benefit tomorrow night, moderated by MSG's Jon Rothstein.

A number of the local writers spoke to Coach Lavin and the players at the Dribble for the Cure benefit. Notes on their pieces, and other St. John's notes - including Darrick Wood at Under Armour's Grind Session - below the fold.

First, Steve Lavin gives a Lavin-esque update on his prostate cancer treatments. He has been assessing his treatment options, and has decided to progress with more aggressive treatment before the Red Storm Tip Off/ Midnight Madness celebration. From the NY Newsday:

"I feel good," Lavin said. "After the most recent consultation, my doctors feel at this point that the active surveillance approach is off the table. So that narrows the treatment options to surgery or radiation. The advantage of early detection is that we have these options that can assist in leading to a cancer-free life.

According to the Daily News, the actual prognosis has not changed; it's still a relatively low-grade cancer and he's expected to make a full recovery. Keep Coach in your thoughts and prayers.

Meanwhile, ESPN NY has a longer piece that touches on the struggles the Red Storm team may have this season. First, Lavin talking about the more technical issues with a short-handed, young team:

"We have a razor-thin margin for error, in terms of injuries or foul trouble," Lavin said. "So we'll have to be very prudent on the defensive end of the floor, in terms of exhibiting defensive discipline, using good judgment. It amplifies the importance of all the defensive fundamentals -- moving the feet, not reaching, not lunging defensively. And staying down on shot fakes, not skying up and making yourself vulnerable or prone to fouling."....

This is true. And we'll look a little deeper into the pitfalls of youth in the next two weeks. As for what the players have been doing, Kieran Darcy's piece (linked above) continues with good detail:

So far the players have been able to have limited individual workouts with the coaching staff, and they also get together to play on their own a few times a week -- usually at 6 a.m. "We're just trying to build habits," Harrison said. "Can you get up and be on time and work out and be good at practice?"

All six newcomers live in the same dorm. Harkless, a Queens native, has been helping them out with recommendations on places to eat and where to get haircuts.

"We all hang out together all the time. You see one of us, you pretty much see all of us," Harkless said. "I think we've been bonding really well together -- real fast, actually. It's kind of surprising how well we've bonded so far."

We love to hear where Moe tells the fellas to get their hair cut all correct. But what about having enough players to practice? Well, walk-ons, it's your lucky year. From the Newsday article linked above:

Lavin expects to fill out his young roster with walk-ons.

"We knew coming in that, whether we had six newcomers or nine, playing in the Big East is going to be a great challenge. It will be rewarding to watch the development because they're good learners."

Tall kids on campus, go in and get ready to ball. As for the future:

Lavin hopes to bring in another six-man class next fall to match the talent of this year's group and put the Red Storm on good footing. But the recent defection of Syracuse and Pitt to the Atlantic Coast Conference and a potential split between football and basketball-only schools in the Big East raises questions about the league's direction.

That six-man class may include some of the players who had been ruled ineligible, though Jakarr Sampson is generating supposed interest from Kansas and Providence already, and Norvel Pelle has the San Diego State rumors swirling around him.  

In other news:

The New York Basketball Hall of Fame welcomed two Redmen who played in the 1960s, John Warren and the late Sonny Dove. Lou Carnesecca and Athletic Director Chris Monasch were on hand at the event, where former Knicks president Donnie Walsh and Miami head coach Jim Larranaga were also honored.

Gene Keady got some love at Yankee Stadium.

2012 guard recruit Darrick Wood was in Chicago at Under Armour and ING Academies' joint "Grind Session effort. Pics of him here and here

About Grind Session:

Players will receive hands-on coaching, intense training and be able to test their game through a skill development curriculum developed by Under Armour Basketball. The number two pick in the 2011 NBA Draft and Under Armour athlete, Derrick Williams, and former college basketball Player of the Year, Jay Williams, will be onsite to assist in drills and share insights on life as a student athlete.


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