The season is still young, but St. John's backs are on the ropes.
After starting the season 3-0, the team has fallen to 4-5 with a couple of discouraging losses... but also a lot of promise for the future.
During their last four game stretch, the Red Storm went 1-3 with a home loss to Northeastern and two losses on the road to #1 Kentucky and mid-major Detroit. Both road games were true tests, the team's first time playing outside New York City. Even though they lost both games, it was encouraging to see certain players continue doing a good job with their roles and other players rising to the occasion at times.
For more in-depth player evaluations, check below the fold.
God`sgift Achiuwa - After watching his game against St. Francis (NY) it felt as if Achiuwa had lost all his mojo. The undersized but valued Gift wasn't being who he was - an aggressive, strong forward - in the beginning of the season.
Against St. Francis, Gift scored 4 points, missed all three free-throw attempts but did grab 7 rebounds and only missed one shot on the floor. In his next two games, Gift went for 17 points and 9 rebounds and then 19 points and 10 rebounds.
His game against Kentucky showed his character as a basketball player. Though St. John's was getting hammered, Achiuwa continued to fight down low even if Anthony Davis continued to reject him.
Gift is resilient and he needs to continue playing strong if St. John's wants to succeed.
Sir`Dominic Pointer -Pointer has been on point these past four games, playing great defense, and gaining confidence in his offensive chances. In the past four games, Pointer is averaging 9 points and 5 rebounds shooting at 57%. And of course, he is being a defensive pest every time he touches the court.
Like mentioned in Week's 2 Player Evaluation, Pointer can be the best Big East sixth man if he posts numbers like that game in and out.
Will he get the nod to start at the 3 in Big East play? Though he is great off the bench, his presence on the court is important in getting the zone defense to work and stopping hot shooters.
Moe Harkless - It has been said before, it will be said again. Harkless is the most consistent player on this St. John's roster. You know exactly what you will get from him every game.
Through the four game stretch, Harkless has 3 games of +15 points and 2 games of +10 rebounds. Though he has turned the ball over 14 times during the stretch it isn't because he's bad with the ball; Harkless is just trying to be aggressive.
He has a large frame at 6-8, maybe even 6-9, but he'll need to muscle up so he can bang with the bodies down low better and finish through contact.
Phil Greene - After getting the starting role in the three guard set, Greene has produced where he was expected even if being called a "dark horse" said otherwise.
Averaging close to 7 points while making good passes, not making mistakes, and rebounding the ball nicely, Greene has been a solid asset to the starting line-up.
Malik Stith - Once again, the veteran serves as more of a leader than just a basketball player.
Coming off the fewest minutes played of the season, Stith continues to be himself by scoring occasionally, passing at times, and often being the voice of experience to the younger guys. Not much will change for the rest of the season for Malik. Pops is doing his part.
Nurideen Lindsey - Lindsey is probably the most talented player on this St. John's roster. But he's struggled with putting his talents all together at one time. In the last 4 games, Lindsey only scored over 10 points once. In the biggest game of the season thus far versus Kentucky, he was a no show in part because of foul trouble.
His turnovers are increasing (5+ in his last three games) while his assists are decreasing (7 total in this four game stretch).
We've seen what Nuri can be when he plays well. Young and talented, Lindsey should rebound from his slide once he balances his miscues with his aggression.
D`Angelo Harrison - His scoring numbers may be respectable, but they are offset but a lack of consistency from behind the arc for St. John's outside shooter.
Against St. Francis, Harrison hit 4 of 5 threes. But in his next three games after that he is 4 of 22 from behind the arc.
The greatest weapon in D'Angelo's arsenal is going to waste and it may not be entirely his fault.
Losing Norvel Pelle and JaKarr Sampson meant there is little post presence to draw away defenders into the paint. He's forced to shoot his threes in transition, or off of perimeter passes, or spot up with a hand in his face. Whatever the problem, he is struggling to find his consistent rhythm.
Harrison is putting points up, but it's easy to see that more scoring will come with more consistency.
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