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Starting St. John's guard Nurideen Lindsey to transfer (UPDATED)

Nurideen Lindsey takes a layup vs Arizona. Lindsey will reportedly transfer from St. John's.
Nurideen Lindsey takes a layup vs Arizona. Lindsey will reportedly transfer from St. John's.

Per Roger Rubin of the NY Daily News, St. John's sophomore point guard Nurideen Lindsey will transfer to another school at the end of the fall semester.

"This was a mutually agreed-upon decision that Nuri’s pursuit of other opportunities is in the best interest of all parties," said Coach Steve Lavin.

"I came to St. Johns for a couple of reasons. One was to be close to my mom, whose health has been up and down due to some past experiences. The second was to play for Coach Lav. In both instances it has not worked out how I envisioned. I think Coach Lav is an amazing coach, and person. He could have taught me so much," said Nurideen Lindsey in a press release.

"I think this team will be special. I think what I'll miss most about St. John’s is miss my teammates," Nurideen added this afternoon. "Those guys are like my brothers. So I will continue to support St. John’s and my brothers."

Lindsey averaged 11.8 points per game/ 2.9 assists/ 4.9 rebounds in his 9 games for the Red Storm. His ability to get to the line helped power a St. John's attack that mitigated a lack of depth and shooting with a torrent of free throw attempts and low turnovers on offense.

But Nurideen's play has declined in recent weeks, scoring 6, 16, 1, and 4 points in his last 4 games after the Texas A&M game in the 2K Sports Classic, where his missed free throws were part of the team's inability to pull off the upset win.

Since that game, the Red Storm has gone 1-3.

The loss of Lindsey leaves a team that only played 7 athletes with 6 scholarship players.

Nurideen Lindsey may not have been a point guard (though he assisted on a decent 22.5% of the team's shots). But as an attacking guard who handled the ball, he has been an integral part of the Red Storm's attack. Much like Dwight Hardy last year, he was a huge part of what made the Red Storm offense function. Without his ability to draw fouls, the team has struggled to score.

Below, selected stats from the Red Storm before and after the Texas A&M game. Per possession, the offense has gone into the tank. The three-point shooting remains poor, but the ability to get shots from the free throw line and inside the arc has also taken a hit. "FTR" is the ratio of free throws to field goals attempted; and "TO%" is turnovers divided by possessions.

St. John's pre- and post-Coaches vs Cancer
pre A&M
post A&M

There's a reason that it has seemed like the team was struggling, and it wasn't just the length of Kentucky. It could be a small sample, but Nurideen has been noticeably removed from the attack. He's played 41 minutes in the past two games.

The St. John's program has had a lot of tumult, with the players who were deemed ineligible by the NCAA and Steve Lavin's cancer recovery, along with the state of the Big East conference. From Monday's postgame post after the 69-63 loss at Detroit:

This team is taking its lumps.

Before the games start, it's easy to talk about playing hard, about cohesion. But when the team's on the edge of .500, struggling to get its attack going, and unable to play its game... who does the team look to? Not just for stories of the old days, but to carry them when they're down?

The Johnnies are still searching for the answer.

The loss of Nuri means that the main playmaking duties will fall to Phil Greene and Malik Stith. Neither has been as offensively aggressive as Nurideen Lindsey, but both have been better at protecting the ball.

Lindsey came to St. John's from a troubled past in Philadelphia, but rediscovered his love for basketball at Redlands Community College in Oklahoma. Lindsey was touted as an NBA-level talent before arriving on the Queens campus, earning favorable comparisons to St. John's star Marcus Hatten, who also came from the junior college ranks.

The Rumble will keep you abreast of the reasons why, whether there is any other tumult in the locker room, and what players may come from the group of walk-ons to take playing time.

The transfer of Lindsey is a blow for a fanbase that has received a lot of bad news in the past three months. Fans expected bigger wins from an entirely new squad of highly-touted recruits. Steve Lavin will return, and the rebuilding process continues. The long-run process of revitalizing the St. John's program requires patience.

But in the short term, the team is left thin and wounded, with Big East play looming in a couple of weeks. A difficult season becomes even harder.

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