Exhibition Game 1 - St. John's vs. CW Post Pioneers (0-0, Division II East Coast Conference)
Location: Carnesecca Arena
Time: 7:00 PM
"We scouted as much as we could have. They're an athletic team and have good guard play so they're going to come in here and play us tough. They're going to come in here and play hard."
- Assistant coach Tony Chiles
I won't fake intel on the CW Post Pioneers, how they run their offense and defense, or treat this exhibition matchup like a game that really matters to St. John's, despite the newcomers' excitement to be on the floor for game action.
These exhibition matchups are a way to see the players interact against a live, experienced, motivated defense. The great thing about hoops is that a decent Division II can actually defeat a Division I opponent.
A lot of fans of the Red Storm would be right pissed if St. John's lost to a Division II opponent. But remember Syracuse losing to LeMoyne College 2 years ago? That 'Cuse team won 30 games, they did pretty well for themselves; and that loss featured Syracuse playing an uncharacteristic man-to-man defense.
Of course, DePaul lost to Lewis College last year... and won 7games in total. That game highlighted an inability for the Blue Demons to finish shots inside the arc and a lack of quickness.
To be safe, let's just avoid discussing what happens if the talented Red Storm lose.
Like any game, there will be a game thread for tonight's action, so come back and discuss what you're seeing on the Rumble. It'll open around 6.30.With so many young players, it's important for Steve Lavin's staff to get their feet wet and see how they react to game speed. Again, this game is more a test than a competition.
Storm Warnings: Scouting CW Post
The Pioneers are coached by former St. John's assistant Chris Casey, who worked under Norm Roberts. His former staff has mostly landed on their feet, with Glenn Braica a head coach at St. Francis in Brooklyn, Norm an assistant with the Florida Gators, and only Fred Quartelbaum not in possession of a basketball coaching job (as far as we know).
Casey got his first chance at the head chair after former coach Tim Cluess moved up to Iona.
And Casey has done well, making the Division II men's tourney with a 21-10 record. The Pioneers have a preseason top-25 ranking in Division II, led by senior Stefan Bonneau.
You may remember Bonneau's name from a few years ago. The diminutive scoring guard got some looks from Norm Roberts and his staff coming from Junior College at SUNY Orange, though that was by far the highest level recruiting interest he received. Bonneau does great things on the court at 5'10, 165. He scored 18.9 points per game, taking 13 tries per game. He shot 51% inside the arc, 45% outside of the arc, but only drew about 4 foul shots per game, despite all of his shooting, indicating he prefers the jump shot.
Storm Warnings: St. John's
What's most important is getting to know the players. No keys to the game, just a trio of bullets on what we're looking for:
- What can the heralded Storm do on the court? There will be jitters, but we'll get a better sense of what the young players can do on the court. Tomorrow's matchup won't tell us which players are going to be the alpha, beta, and gamma options on the Red Storm. But we can get a sense of where the players' true skills lie.
- What's changed in Malik Stith? Does he have enough skill to be a contributor on a talented St. John's basketball team, or will the recruiting class relegate him to "extra coach" status?
- How will the team approach the lack of depth? Word is that the walk-ons won't get in the game, so expect to get a real sense of how well-conditioned the new Johnnies are. How well will God'sGift fare? Will Sir'Dominic Pointer play center?
What are you looking for from tonight's game? Is there a player you're most interested in seeing?