USA TODAY Sports
St. John's has won two in a row, surged by the offensive emergence of Sir'Dom Pointer.
You may have noticed that Sir`Dominic Pointer has been more aggressive of late - both to the naked eye and in the box score.
Pointer is known primarily for his defensive activity, keeping opponents' guards aware and honest while the St. John's sophomore is on the floor. But, offensively, Sir'Dom has been an enigma in his first 50 games with Steve Lavin's Johnnies.
After averaging 6.5 points per game as a freshman a year ago, Pointer wasn't overflowing with offensive improvement out of the gates in 2012-13. He scored in double-figures in just two of the Red Storm's first 14 games this season, while only taking more than 5 shot attempts just twice.
"It's about my confidence," Pointer said after St. John's 71-62 win over DePaul on Saturday. "Usually I don't take [many] shots."
Throughout those 14 games, where the Johnnies did go 9-5, Pointer often seemed timid when the ball found him in the halfcourt sets. When the play wasn't developing in transition, Dom was looking to be a provider instead of an attacker - just like last season. Lavin has pushed to remove the athletic Pointer's passivity.
"Coach Lavin said I was hurting the team by not shooting the ball," Pointer continued. "He told me to get and take my shots, and that's what I've been doing."
It's the same thing Lavin said about D`Angelo Harrison earlier this season. He knows that the Red Storm will be most effective when his best offensive weapons are looking to fire and take chances - within reason.
It's one of the most repeated of all the Lavin Lines - no shot is a bad shot.
"I've been working on everything inside the three-point line," Pointer said of his continuing shot development. "I've been doing one-dribble pull-ups, two-dribble pull-ups, my handles, and just getting to the basket."
Whatever Pointer and the St. John's staff are discussing behind closed doors and working through in practices is working. The defensively-minded, hybrid guard-forward has scored in double-figures in three of the last four games, including an impressive 14-point and 11-rebound performance against DePaul - the first double-double of Pointer's career.
And not only is Pointer being more aggressive on the offensive end, but he's doing it by making smart decisions. As Lavin has asked Pointer to shoot more, the sophomore is shooting more good shots. Since Big East play began on January 2nd, Pointer has missed only 6 of his 24 field goal attempts (75%).
Though it doesn't always look like a Van Gogh masterpiece, Pointer has shown a relatively-wide array of ways to score. In addition to his familiar love to run the fast break, Sir'Dom hit a couple jump shots against Notre Dame and hit a running floater to beat the shot clock against DePaul.
On a team that has almost desperately searched for a reliable second scorer alongside Harrison, Pointer is making wonderful contributions.
If he is going to make his offensive emergence a regular occurrence for St. John's, the Red Storm will find themselves in position to win even more than they have been to date. The ability to have a player help you as much on both sides of the ball as Pointer can is a valuable asset for Steve Lavin.
Perhaps he is just one of the coveted missing pieces St. John's has been searching for to get over the proverbial hump towards consistency.