After starting the season 6-5, St. John's headed into the Big East with lowered highest expectations from critics. But In their first game, the Red Storm came out and gave the critics something to think about with a convincing 91-67 win over Ed Cooley's Providence Friars.
St. John's is 2-2 in Big East play, with a long season ahead. Let's see how the team's players panned out individually after the fold.
D`Angelo Harrison - If there is one guard in the Big East to watch this year, it has to be Harrison.
Consistency has not been a problem for the freshman who is finding his stroke from all over the court. In his 1st four Big East games, Harrison has shot the ball at 42% from the field, 31% from 3-pt territory and well over 80% from the free throw line.
But that's not all. Harrison has been rebounding the ball very well at almost 6 per game and is dishing out 4 assists per contest in his new occasional role as point guard/ ball handler. D'Angelo also added 3 steals in 3 of the 4 games.
Moe Harkless - After setting a freshman scoring record against Providence, Harkless has continued to rebound the ball well and take efficient shots. Harkless is shooting at 49% from the field and, like Harrison, is starting to find a nice flow from 3-pt land shooting at 33%.
As for rebounding, Harkless is averaging 9 a game as well as adding 2 blocks per. Both Harkless and Harrison are huge factors for this St. John's team and will have to continue the rest of the way if the Red Storm want to have a strong season.
As for the rest of the team, Phil Greene is still adjusting to the point guard position. Assistant Coach, Mike Dunlap has praised Greene's learning ability and says he can have a break out game at any moment.
Greene is averaging 6 points and 3 assists per game in these first 4 matchups, but there is some cause for concern. The Chicago-native is shooting the ball at 23% and isn't getting to the free throw line enough.
If Greene can find a new gear and hit some shots, he would give St. John's another added weapon in games. It's there; he just needs, as Dunlap said, a break out game.
God`sgift Achiuwa is doing his part as well. Averaging close to 10 points, an area of concern for Achiuwa is his rebounding. Harkless is right there at 10 but Gift is resting at 5 to 6 rebounds a game. A little work on boxing out down low and/ or timing and Achiuwa could help relieve stress on Harkless rebounding, something the big man said he wanted to do all season long at Big East Media day in October.
Still, Achiuwa is a solid and versatile big man.
Sir`Dominic Pointer has to be a 6th man of the year candidate with his continued positive performances. So far, he is averaging 7 points per,to go with 6 rebounds and 2 steals a game. He's shooting the ball at 41% and has proven he can hit from behind the arc. But give him enough room, he'll blow past you for an emphatic SportsCenter-worthy dunk.
Amir Garrett continues to learn exactly what his role on this team is and he's contributing in every category nicely. In 4 games, Garrett has totaled 13 points (8 in his last game versus the Bearcats) 5 steals and 5 rebounds. He's also found his teammates on a couple alley-oop attempts in transition.
Give Garrett another 3-4 games to find his grip... and then watch out for the lefty.
And lastly, Malik Stith continues to be a leader even with his diminished minutes.
Averaging around 14 minutes per game in these first 4 games, Stith has given some points off the bench but also contributes to keeping the freshman focused as now the stage is raised in Big East Conference play. Stith's experience will be more important then is playing time.
4 games in and these young Red Storm student-athletes have shown they can win you games both in a blowout fashion and also come up clutch when it matters but they've also shown that they aren't where they could've been had they had more bodies on the bench. Endurence will be a huge key as the season progresses.