Last season amidst major roster turnover, St. John’s was projected to finish dead last in the Big East. Unsurprisingly, Chris Mullin’s first team indeed did finish at the bottom of Big East standings.
This season a newfound optimism rests in the New York City air. 2016-17 Big East preseason polls, as released Tuesday at Big East media day, predict St. John’s to finish 8th in the conference.
St. John’s finished with a mere eight wins in Chris Mullin’s inaugural season. Thankfully, the Johnnies reloaded this summer, overall improving in almost every area. The Johnnies return a slew of young producers, including Yankuba Sima, Kassoum Yakwe, and Federico Mussini. Along with returning players that had a chance to develop this offseason, Mullin and staff bring in the Big East’s best recruiting class. New York City guards Shamorie Ponds and Bashir Ahmed lead the 2016 recruiting class, in addition to German forward Richard Freudenberg.
Despite the Red Storm’s vast improvements, a loaded Big East conference should make it difficult for St. John’s to rise in the standings.
Along with the polls came the awards, where New York City native Shamorie Ponds was selected as the Big East Freshman of the Year.
Big East Preseason Poll
1- Villanova (9 1st place votes) 81 points
2- Xavier (1) 69 pts
3- Creighton 64 pts
4- Georgetown 53 pts
4- Seton Hall 53 pts
6- Butler 44 pts
7- Marquette 35 pts
8- St. John’s 21 pts
9- Providence 18 pts
10- DePaul 12 pts
(First place votes in parentheses. Coaches don’t place their own teams on ballots)
Preseason player awards:
Shamorie Ponds, the 6’1” Brooklyn freshman who led Thomas Jefferson HS in Brooklyn to PSAL and State titles, was given the Preseason Freshman of the Year award. Ponds was a top-50 recruit in most recruiting outlets, and may start this season next to redshirt freshman Marcus LoVett.
Big East Preseason Player of the Year
Josh Hart, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-5, 215, Silver Spring, Md.
Big East Preseason Freshman of the Year
Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s, G, Fr., 6-1, 165, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Big East Preseason First Team
- Kelan Martin, Butler, F, Jr., 6-7, 220, Louisville, Ky.
- Maurice Watson Jr., Creighton, G, Sr., 5-10, 175, Philadelphia, Pa.
- Kris Jenkins, Villanova, F, Sr., 6-6, 235, Upper Marlboro, Md.
- Trevon Bluiett, Xavier, G, Jr., 6-6, 205, Indianapolis, Ind.
- Edmond Sumner, Xavier, G, So., 6-6, 183, Detroit, Mich.
Big East Preseason Second Team
- Billy Garrett, Jr., DePaul, G, Sr., 6-6, 210, Chicago, Ill.
- Isaac Copeland, Georgetown, F, Jr., 6-9, 220, Raleigh, N.C.
- Luke Fischer, Marquette, C, Sr., 6-11, 250, Germantown, Wis.
- Khadeen Carrington, Seton Hall, G, Jr., 6-4, 195, Brooklyn, N.Y.
- Angel Delgado, Seton Hall, F, Jr., 6-10, 240, Bajos De Haina, Dominican Republic
Preseason All-Big East Honorable Mention
- Marcus Foster, Creighton, G, Jr., 6-3, 210, Wichita Falls, Texas
- L.J. Peak, Georgetown, F, Jr., 6-5, 215, Gaffney, S.C.
- Jalen Brunson, Villanova, G, So., 6-2, 190, Lincolnshire, Ill.
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