St. John's vs St. Francis pregame Q&A with Big Apple Buckets

Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE

Brooklyn meets Queens, and the Rumble gets you caught up with the all the information you need to identify St. Francis' threats.

There's so much excitement/ trepidation/ guessing around the Big East realignment moves, but there is still a basketball game to be played on Saturday against the Brooklyn neighbors, the St. Francis Terriers, in the Brooklyn Hoops Classic at Barclay's Center.

No, the game won't be on television, but our Jaden Daly and Quinn Rochford will be there, dropping knowledge on how the game is going down here on the Gamethread or on Twitter.

Also in the house will be John Templon, the proprietor of the site Big Apple Buckets. John's and his team of writers are a go-to source for all things happening below the "major conference" level in the New York area, a source for all things NEC and MAAC and A-10 and more. Smart takes, tempo-neutral bent, solid insight - check the site out.

And read his takes on the St. Francis Terriers below. Can they be a threat? Do they have a player who will offensive rebound his way to a new career high? Do they have a player who will cut through the perimeter defense and hand out dishes to shooters? Can St. John's finally blow a team out?

(And when you are done, read the Scouting Report on the Terriers from our own Jaden Daly.)


Rumble in the Garden - so the Terriers are 2-6. Is it a GOOD 2-6 considering their conference and talent level? Or has their start exposed flaws in Glenn Braica's squad?

Big Apple Buckets - I think it's probably more of the latter. The schedule has been difficult, but not exactly a murderer's row. They've also been in most of the game. The defense has been subpar and the Terriers need to get more consistent point guard play in order to be a force in the NEC, which is still possible.

Q - how are St. Francis' big men? How have they put up such good numbers inside the arc... and why are the numbers middling on the other side of the arc?

(And why take such a high percentage of outside shots?)

A - St. Francis' big men are all undersized, but active. Akeem Johnson is the senior leader and a force in the paint. The guy to watch out for though is Jalen Cannon. He was outstanding as a freshman and he's trying to take on an even bigger scoring role as a sophomore. He's got a nice jump-hook in the lane, but more of his points come off of offensive rebounds and just being active around the rim. Cannon is shooting 68% on twos this season. Another sophomore that has come on this season is Kevin Douglas. He's shooting 66% on his twos (though a smaller sample of 35 shots). He's also 14-34 (41%) from three.

The reason the Terriers shoot so many threes is... well, I don't really know. It might have something to do with the fact with that's how St. Francis won last season. Then the leading three-point shooter in school history graduated. I think the offense will continue to migrate inside of the arc.

Q - With that in mind, which guard or wing stands the best chance of slashing deep into the lane or bombing from outside against a zone?

A - He'll be listed as a forward, but Kevin Douglas is the man to watch out for. Another guard that's hoping to penetrate into a defense is point guard Brent Jones. He's struggled a bit early in the season, but when he can use his athleticism to drive he's very dangerous.

Q - What defensive looks can St John's expect on Saturday afternoon? Is there a particularly good defender on the squad?

A - The defense is pretty ugly right now. It'll be mostly man. I'm not sure how they'll guard D'Angelo Harrison. (Literally, no idea.) An underrated loss from last season's team is Justin Newton. He and Stefan Perunicic were the two best defenders on the team and they're not around anymore. SFC still hasn't found their defensive identity this season. Cannon, Douglas and Jones are all athletic, but they need to be more dedicated on the defensive end. Players just blow by all of them sometimes.

Q - Predict which player will be Chris Obekpa's shot block victim.

A - I'm assuming you mean the first one, because only one player in St. Francis' rotation is listed at above 6'6". I'm going to go with Akeem Johnson. He'll probably draw Obekpa first and he's struggling a bit right now.

PLUS: How is Glenn Braica doing as head man over there?

Personally, I think Braica is doing a very good job. He's finished .500 each of the past two seasons and doing that last season with such a young team was a huge surprise. The defense needs to be fixed, but all the pieces are there for SFC to compete in the NEC, which is really what you want. If he continues to bring in talent at the level of last season's freshman class he'll be able to make the Terriers into a consistent contender.

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