Around St. John's and the Big East; also, look out for the 11th episode of the Not Half Bad podcast on iTunes.
St. John's updates
While I don't think I agree, Adam Zagoria's latest preseason All-Big East look (it's June. June! Shouldn't we wait until August, at least?) predicts St. John's to finish third.
Coach Steve Lavin has arguably the most talented roster of his four-year tenure and the pressure will be on him and the Johnnies to live up to the hype and help carry the flag for the new Big East without Syracuse, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame.
(there's more, so go read.)
A number of St. John's players could be showing out at Nike Pro City:
For fans with some time, it'll be good to get a look at whether Max Hooper can shoot 80% in a competitive game, how Chris Obekpa's offense looks, and how much JaKarr Sampson has changed - in body, and shot selection. It's a tough league, sometimes physical, but far less controlled than college ball, so take it with a grain of salt.
Big East updates
Andy Katz reports that the Big Ten will be looking to help Rutgers and Maryland's scheduling by helping to craft a Big Ten-Big East challenge. The interesting line, after speculating the games that would make geographic sense, is
This is all still a reach and the Big Ten isn't going to look at any of this until after a year of watching the new Big East.
Which is to say, as we know, the first year of the new Big East will, if the league wants to carve a niche as high-major/ just under "football money" major, need to be very, very good.
On the women's side, Swish Appeal makes the argument that both the Big East and the American Athletic Conference are mid-major quality (and will have to guard their coaches from poaching). But a closer look shows the upcoming Big East with five bids in the past three years. With women's hoops less visible than the men's action, maybe the differences in resources won't be so pronounced? Maybe?
Fox News decides to fairly balance the coverage of the arena plan DePaul is involved with. The major points are that the money won't come from the schools that were closed (it's posited as a financial decision), that it will help revitalize DePaul's basketball program, and that the project will bring tax revenue to the city "desperate for financial help."
(I would then ask, is that money going to the schools? Doesn't the money come from somewhere, and isn't that somewhere eventually the city budget? Are the ticket revenues wildly overstated? Since this is off-topic, I took it to the sidepiece blog that spawned Rumble in the Garden years ago. Read for more on why Chicago doesn't need an arena.)
The summer league in Omaha starts on June 20th, goes until July 25th. So if you want to catch some Creighton hoops and you are in Omaha, you're an obsessive, but the White and Blue Review has you covered.
DePaul's Donnavan Kirk transfers back to Miami, where he left for more playing time. Now that Miami has got many, many minutes left, Kirk is heading back to Coral Gables to revitalize his career. Or vitalize it in the first place.
The NCAA will deprioritize hosting NCAA Tournament games in domes before the Final Four, creating a more intimate atmosphere. Despite what the link says, Andy Katz clarified that the NCAA will still accept submissions from large domed arenas, but there won't be a "dress rehearsal" Sweet Sixteen the year before a venue hosts the Final Four. Don't expect the Final Four itself to land in a more intimate venue; those tickets DO sell.
St. John's drafted first baseman Frank Schwindel was signed by the Kansas City Royals, along with a bunch of draft picks.
Meanwhile, James Lomangino, drafted in the 14th round by Oakland, intends to return to St. John's next season.
Lonely Island with Diddy aka Sean Combs, Robyn, Paul Rudd, and... well, I laughed. Then I was weirded out. NSFW.
Tip: DON'T DO ANYTHING THIS VIDEO ASKS OF YOU.