Red Storm in Review 2011-12: Sir`Dominic Pointer

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

"I'd rather finish a game than start a game every day." - Sir`Dominic Pointer, before the Syracuse game. Below, a look at Pointer's freshman year, with an eye towards how he can contribute to this year's team.

With Maurice Harkless off collecting pro paychecks, a pressing question for the Red Storm - if they want to make a real move in the Big East - has to be:

How will they "weaponize" the athletic skill set of Sir`Dominic Pointer?

Pointer averaged 6.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, averaging 30 minutes per contest. Many St. John's fans expected more, with his rapid ascent in the recruiting rankings and highlight reel dunks.

Though his jump shot was known to be a work-in-progress in high school, he has the physical tools to score. He has the length. He can finish. And we know Coach Lavin has identified a way to get him more active in the offense by giving him a chance to make plays at point guard.

Last year's performance may have had as much to do with the roster around Pointer and the roles he needed to play as it does with his learned ability to put the ball in the basket.

From the Baselines series before last season on Sir`Dominic Pointer:

Athletic gifts got Sir'Dom on the recruiting map. But skills make the impact player, and Pointer has some room to grow. Pointer's ballhandling is decent, but will need to improve if he's going to drive the lane to score....

Every year, there are freak athletes with great athleticism, 6'5-6'7 wing players who can jump out of the gym. Not every one of them - even at the top of the rankings - is excellent right out of the box. And that's not abnormal; lots of players come to college and need work on their finishing skills and shooting.

The numbers he puts up this year should be taken with a few grains of salt; he's not trained as a banging post player. But his quickness might afford him more opportunities to take players off of the dribble and even draw fouls, even as he gives up size and bulk at the other end.

I'll predict that Pointer is one of the players who doesn't routinely crack double digits - not because of ability, but because more scoring opportunities will go to Harrison, Harkless, and Lindsey, who are all noted to be deft creators and/ or shooters.

Pointer played all over the court for Mike Dunlap's Red Storm, spending a lot of time defending perimeter players. That part of the prediction was wrong. Also wrong were my guesses for scoring percentage and his rebounding.

The ideas that Pointer had to improve his ballhandling to score, and that he needed to polish his skill set, were true..

On a team that struggled to find scorers, Pointer couldn't find consistency or his shot. Phil Greene emerged as a third scorer for the Red Storm. Meanwhile, highly-touted Pointer was at times shy about looking for his offense, and at other times inefficient with the shots he took. Hellacious defense aside, the team needs him (or someone else) to emerge as a high-quality two-way player.

The positives: Sir`Dominic Pointer is athletic and loves doing the "littler" things.

Sir`Dominic Pointer Essential Stats
Non-con
BE
PPG
6.7
6.5
RPG
4.7
4.6
APG
1.0
1.9
BPG
0.7
1.1
SPG
1.2
1.9
3p%
41.7%
8.0%
2p%
50.9%
42.2%
FTR *
47.8%
23.4%
FT%
50.0%
60.6%

Rumble_icon_x-small_copy_mediumDefense was as excellent as advertised, though at times hard to quantify. Pointer picked up less than a block a game and over a steal a game - and upped his numbers in Big East play. He was a force on the defensive end and can likely improve his positioning and anticipation, especially with players behind him who can also intimidate shots. The future is bright for Pointer on the defensive end.

Rumble_icon_x-small_copy_mediumDunkin' Go-nuts! Featured four times on ESPN's Top Ten plays of the night - and often in the St. John's highlights as a dunking force in transition or when UCLA forgets to mark him on the court (video) - Pointer was effective with the dunk. In Big East play he was credited with 15 dunks, which would place him 9th in the league behind post players and Kris Joseph and Cleveland Melvin.

Rumble_icon_x-small_copy_mediumNot afraid to pass. Pointer would look for his mates readily, though he was credited with under two assists per game. He had an eye for where the other players were and a sensibility to let the other "big dogs" eat, whether it was Harkless (who received 10 assists from Pointer), Harrison (who also received 10), or even God`sGift Achiuwa (7 assists from Pointer, mostly for layups).

* FTR - the ratio of free throws attempted to field goals attempted, to measure how often a player's actions get him to the line.

The negatives: Can he score?

Rumble_icon_x-small_copy_mediumSir`Dominic Pointer's shooting was poor from just outside of the rim all the way out to the three point line. As one might expect, his shooting percentages are higher in non-conference play against the likes of St. Francis and Detroit. But the huge difference hints that the problem isn't just in the skills, but in the confidence and choice of shots. Choice is a funny word - when the ball ends up in Pointer's hand at the panicked end of the shot clock, he has to shoot it; and a number of his shots came as "shot-clock savers."

Still, shooting 8% from outside the arc and just under 18% away from the basket inside the arc (lowest on the team) is something that has to change.

Rumble_icon_x-small_copy_mediumCan he put points on the board? Pointer wasn't a player looking for his shot; for a three-game stretch, it seemed that Pointer was looking for his offense (or exhorted to do so), putting up around 12 shots per game against UCLA, Seton Hall, and DePaul at home. 37% of those shots went in, and soon, Pointer was focused on his defensive assignment against Notre Dame, and not looking for his shot.

Players who aren't shot-hunters as freshmen can look for their shot more, but tend to not develop into aggressive scorers like Harkless and Harrison. That's not a problem... except in the fact that St. John's has one player known to be an aggressive scorer (Harrison), and no one else projected to be a big shot-taker besides possibly Phil Greene and maybe JaKarr Sampson.

In an ideal world, Pointer won't have to be depended on to put points on the board. But if any player on the roster could elevate his game (by closing the glaring shooting flaws), it's Dom.

Outlook:

On a team that seeks to better itself on defense with more length and big men who can corral rebounds - which is the essential element of a defensive stop - Pointer can be freed to wreak havoc in transition.

His dribble needs improving. And so does his shooting. But if the staff can get Pointer with a head of steam going at the basket and drawing attention, the team's transition game will be fearsome, and he'll put up points. But he has to be a lot closer to average with his jump shot, whether inside or outside of the arc - teams will just get back on defense.

Pointer's defense is just as important as offense, and Pointer's defense may get more of his due on a better defensive team. But make no mistake - his defense is there, and combined with Jamal Branch and Amir Garrett, getting past halfcourt might be an adventure for opponents.

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