The twists and turns of the St. John's offseason continued Friday with discouraging news for an already thin Johnnies backcourt.
Junior point guard Rysheed Jordan has ended his career with St. John's and will pursue professional opportunities with the goal of one day joining the NBA. Jordan is ineligible for the 2015 NBA Draft, but he could decide to play overseas or accept the experience of playing in the D-League.
According to the NY Post, the decision was mutually agreed upon by the team's best player and head coach Chris Mullin. Jordan would have been ineligible for the first semester, but could have returned to the team in December if he passed his classes during the summer and fall months.
Instead, the Philadelphia native decided that it was best for him to move forward with his basketball career.
"Playing professional basketball has always been a goal of mine," Jordan said in a statement. "I believe I am ready to take the next step in my basketball career and plan to work hard to achieve my dream of playing in the NBA. I am thankful for the opportunities and support St. John's University has provided me."
"We support Rysheed and wish him well in his professional endeavors, Mullin said in a statement. "He has the potential to play at the highest level of our sport."
Jordan, who was the team's second leading scorer last season, averaged 14.1 points per game, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists. His jump shot has always been an Achilles heel, but as his sophomore year progressed the energetic guard found more consistency behind the arc.
Jordan's career at St. John's was up and down as he faced off the court issues and turnover problems on the court.
Jordan was suspended during his freshman season for a violation of team rules, took multiple absences because of family issues in Philadelphia (including last year's leave of absence) and tweeted a homophobic remark that forced the guard to come off the bench for the team's next game.
For the first half of last season, Jordan had a disappointing assist-to-turnover ratio as he was struggling with his decision making and court vision.
Jordan and Chris Obekpa were the only heavily featured players returning from last season, and now the Johnnies will have to rely on incoming freshman Marcus LoVett, freshman Malik Ellison, returnee Felix Balamou and Missouri State transfer Ron Mvouika in the backcourt.
Other than Balamou and Mvouika (and both have very little experience playing major minutes), the rest of the guards have no Division I experience and that could be a major issue, especially in Big East Conference play.
Jordan's departure opens up another scholarship spot for the 2015-16 season and that slot could be used to add Federico Mussini, an Italian point guard who is currently involved in his team's postseason events. Mussini is expected to make a decision soon, and St. John's is the top school he is considering in the United States.
The Johnnies have added plenty of versatility, size and toughness this offseason, but the loss of Jordan is clearly a major blow for Mullin and his staff.