Johnnies go as D'Angelo Harrison goes

D'Angelo Harrison, the freshman guard from Texas, has catapulted into stardom quickly. Averaging 16 points per game entering Wednesday, Harrison is making a name for himself in the Big East. He leads all freshmen in the conference in scoring.

In the Red Storm's 83-64 loss to the Marquette Golden Eagles on Wednesday night, Harrison's importance to the St. John's was exposed. His streaky shooting and knack to provide the squad with an offensive spark plug gives the Johnnies life. But after fouling out in 20 minutes of action, it is clear that Harrison's aggressiveness can have negative consequences for the Red Storm.

More, below the fold.

"It changed the game," teammate God`sgift Achiuwa admitted afterwards about D`Angelo Harrison fouling out. "He's our leading scorer. It hurts."

In the six games that Harrison failed to score at least 15 points, St. John's has a 2-4 record. What is most impressive about that statistic is that he has hit that mark in 10 games - he's been remarkably consistent.

When St. John's pulverized Providence two weeks ago, the talk surrounded Moe Harkless. His record-setting 32 points opened eyes and raised eyebrows around the league and nation.

In recent games, D'Angelo Harrison has been the key to Lavin's cupboard and the program's ticket to success. Since the Big East season has started, D'Angelo Harrison is the guy who everyone expects to lead this team. Considering his youth, he's done a fantastic job in handling that weight so far. Harrison is creating shots for himself and for the rest of the team, and playing with aplomb.

In last weekend's surprising victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats, D'Angelo's second half performance was an uplift for St. John's and carried them home with a win. His team-high 18 points reflected a fraction of how important he was in that game, especially in the second half.

Harrison's on-court execution and overall efficiency has improved immensely since this young group began playing together officially two months ago. Having to play 35+ minutes every game has provided the freshman guard with great experience, and he has given the team the ability to compete in every game.

But Harrison could only give St. John's 20 minutes against Marquette.

He was knocking down a few long-range jumpers, fighting for loose balls, and spreading his confidence to his teammates. Harrison had 10 points by the 7:30 mark of the first half and the Johnnies were winning. Then the fouls starting mounting. Before you knew it, he was gone.

All of the sudden, the crisp ball movement and open looks weren't there anymore. There isn't any coincidence that the confidence was nowhere to be found either.

Wednesday taught Harrison that he cannot afford to get into serious foul trouble. His aggressiveness fuels his game. He's going to live and die by it; but as he gains experience, he'll learn to be a maximum-effort player without leaving the court.

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