With Rawle Alkins and a number of recruits in attendance at Carnesecca Arena, the White team defeated the Red team, 84-72, on Saturday in the Johnnies Red and White Scrimmage.
Durand Johnson, 32 points, and Federico Mussini, 17 points, led the White team while Marcus LoVett, 22 points, and Ro Mvouika, 16 points, were the top scorers on the Red team.
Yakuba Sima (Red) had 15 points and nine boards, Malik Ellison (Red) had 14 points and eight boards, and Christian Jones (Red) led all players with 15 rebounds.
Kassoum Yakwe (White) was quiet for most of the afternoon but ended the scrimmage with eight points, 12 rebounds and four turnovers.
While it's only scrimmage and results are taken with a grain of salt, there were a couple players and observations that stuck out on Saturday:
Durand Johnson's dominance
Graduate student Durand Johnson, a transfer from Pittsburgh in his last year of eligibility, was the best player on the floor Saturday as his ability to break down the defense and score from long range was impressive. Johnson put up 32 points on five threes and shot 11-for-17 from the field.
While his jump shot was strong, Johnson also showed that he can attack the rim (finishing with either hand) and that he can set up his teammates with an underrated arsenal of passes. The 6'6" versatile forward has great length defensively and should be the leader of this young roster, as he was very vocal calling out the opposing defenses.
Overall, it was a promising start for a player that sat out the entire 2014-15 at Pittsburgh due to a torn ACL.
LoVett stuffs the stat sheet
Freshman point guard LoVett has tremendous vision (eight assists), can knock down outside shots (three threes) and pushes the ball in transition for a team that wants to play at a fast pace. He also made his presence known with his defense, forcing Mussini into double teams and ending the scrimmage with five steals.
He made his fair share of freshman mistakes with forced passes and poor turnovers (four of them in total) but those numbers should come down as he continues to develop. The four-star recruit shows aggressiveness and did not give the opposing squad an opportunity to score at the other end with live giveaways.
The three point shot
It's well known that St. John's wants to run up and down the floor and wear down the opposing team with their quickness and depth. On Saturday, the offense was also filled with quick three points shots from Mussini (2-of-11), Johnson (5-of-8), Williams (2-of-6), Mvouika (4-of-8), and Ellison (2-of-6), but both teams were knocking them down at a solid clip (Red 36 percent, White 40 percent). Taking the shots in a scrimmage is one thing; now they will have to knock down those shots consistently against a true opponent.
Expect a high motion offense, a lot of pick-and-roll and plenty of ball movement this season with the Red Storm incorporating NBA concepts into their attack.
One aspect that must improve: Free throw shooting. Both teams shot low percentages from the charity stripe.
There was a scary moment late in the second half where Marcus LoVett remained on the ground, laying head first, before a trainer ran over to him. Luckily, he got on his feet moments later and stayed in the game.
Felix Balamou also left the scrimmage, holding his arm, early in the second half and went to the locker room immediately. He did not return.
There were numerous recruits at St. John's Red-White Scrimmage today.
Shooting Guard 6'3" Omar Silverio - Class of 2018 - St. Raymond For Boys (Bronx, NY) | https://twitter.com/omarsilverio15
Wing 6'6" Sidney Wilson - Class of 2017 - St. Raymond For Boys (Bronx, NY) | https://twitter.com/Iam_SidWilson
Small Forward 6'4" Rawle Alkins - Class of 2016 - Word of God Christian Academy (Raleigh, NC) - Five-star recruit | https://twitter.com/Iam_RawleAlkins
Commit Shooting Guard 6'1" Shamorie Ponds - Class of 2016 - Thomas Jefferson High School (Brooklyn, NY) | https://twitter.com/shamoriep
Photos!(Shots by Wendell Cruz)