Photo of Larry Wright taken from Red Storm Sports.
The St. John's Red Storm has another home contest at Carnesecca Arena against a Northeast Conference (NEC) opponent, Fairleigh Dickinson University from Teaneck. The fans are feeling pretty good about the St. John's team, with their convincing victory over Connecticut's Sacred Heart University, also from the NEC. Dickinson is 1-3 on the season, and have allowed 88 points per game. This seems like a fairly easy game for the Johnnies...
...But with 7 freshmen, and Anthony Mason still out with his high ankle sprain, no team can be overlooked. The FDU Knights play a three-guard lineup, and thus far in the season, have shot well from beyond the arc. They have also been blown out by every team they have lost to. According to Ken Pomeroy's basketball efficiency statistics (based mainly on effectiveness per 100 possessions) the two teams in terms of national Offensive and Defensive efficiency rank (the adjusted numbers take into account the quality of the opponents):
It's early, of course, and St. John's hasn't played a team that has really challenged them, but by all metrics, FDU is a really bad defensive team, but offensively, not bad. Again, a lot of this may be their hot shooting from beyond the arc, with senior Manny Ubilla shooting 44% (12-27), senior forward Eric Hazard at 53% (9-17), senior Bernell Murray lagging with 31.6% shooting (6-19) and Sean Baptiste contributing with 66.7% (8-12) shooting. They also have freshman John Galvin manning the middle.Last week, the Red Storm played extremely well. The second game found the freshmen playing better, rebounding well, and holding the lead. Paris Horne didn't take many unnecessary/ ridiculous shots, Justin Burrell was a decent offensive and defensive force, Dele Coker was effective with his minutes.
This week, I would like to see:
A more effective Malik Boothe and Tomas Jasiulionis. In 18 minutes against Sacred Heart, Malik missed all three field goal attempts and had a single assist. He needs to get some minutes and push the pace of this team, but not to the point where they are out of control. TJ should look for his shot more, especially from mid-range (though I am sure we still won't see that) and continue to block shots and use his height defensively. It would be nice to see more rebounds, but there is little indication that he is going to be a beast on the boards.
Continued hot shooting from Lawrence and Wright. They have been effective in their spots, with Larry Wright looking for his shot and Lawrence knocking down open attempts.
Better overall play from Burrell, Coker, and Kennedy. Burrell needs to get easier attempts and really use his athleticism to go off. Kennedy's shooting has been mediocre but he has made up for it by moving the ball, rebounding, and making plays; his dribble/ ball handling will hopefully show improvement. Coker just needs to see more time and cut down on the fouls; hopefully Coach Roberts will give the kid some run.
Defense of the three. The three-pointer is the great equalizer. It would be great to see the Red Storm guards stifling the outside shot and putting pressure on FDU's ballhandlers. This is the kind of game where Paris Horne and Malik Boothe should shine. I'll assume the FDU Knights will draw Burrell out of the defensive paint with Hazard; this will be a test of how well Burrell can defend in space.
Props to the team on their work last Wednesday, serving turkey dinners at the Bread and Life Soup Kitchen in Brooklyn.