As we approach the final month of Big East Conference play, St. John's has yet to earn a win despite remaining competitive against quality opponents like Creighton, Xavier (twice), Providence and Marquette (twice). On paper a 13-game losing streak is poor, but in reality, the improvement and growth has reflected positively on the coaching staff, the players' work ethic and the future of the program.
The Red Storm's best offensive performance of the season nearly ended in a shocking victory at the Cintas Center against Xavier on Wednesday, so it wouldn't be surprising if this group broke through soon.
Here is the latest breakdown of the Johnnies roster:
|No.||Name||Position||Year||Height||PPG||APG||RPG||SPG||FG%||3PT%||FT%||Key things to know|
|0||Malik Ellison||Guard||Freshman||6'6"||6.5||1.8||2.6||0.3||30%||21%||65%||A big guard, who has had trouble finishing around the rim as of late. Needs to work on the consistency of his jump shot, but is a solid ballhandler.|
|1||Amar Alibegovic||Forward||Sophomore||6'9"||5||0.8||2.6||0.5||39%||28%||67%||Has developed into an excellent energizer off the bench. Can stretch the floor with his three point shot and when he gets hot like versus Syracuse, watch out.|
|2||Christian Jones||Forward||Redshirt Junior||6'7"||7.5||1.4||5.1||0.7||44%||100%||60%||He played an terrific second half against Villanova and has showed a good ability to finish inside. His athleticism is a plus but he's undersized compared to other Big East big men.|
|4||Federico Mussini||Guard||Freshman||6'1"||12.3||2.7||2.7||1.4||36%||33%||88%||Was brought off the bench versus Xavier as he struggles with the length and physicality. He can get in a groove quickly from the perimeter.|
|5||Durand Johnson||Guard/Forward||Graduate Transfer||6'6"||12.4||1.6||4.2||1.2||38%||31%||75%||His shot selection can make you scratch your head at times, but he is a leader, hustler and the team's leading scorer. Can create his own shot but is not always efficient.|
|10||Felix Balamou||Guard||Senior||6'4"||7.7||2.5||3.9||0.5||42%||20%||70%||Has impressed with his slashing ability. Great athleticism and had the best game of his career at Xavier on Wednesday (20 points on 8-of-12 shooting).|
|12||Elijah Holifield||Guard||Freshman||6'2"||0.4||0.1||0.5||0.1||14%||0%||50%||He doesn't receive much time as a walk-on but was inserted against Seton Hall. Mullin was trying to send a message to his normal rotation players.|
|14||Kassoum Yakwe||Forward||Freshman||6'7"||6.3||0.4||5.1||0.6||39%||0%||48%||What's not to like about Yakwe? Since Sima went down, he has developed into a monster shot blocker, who can also alter layups at the rim. Poor free throw shooter and will need to develop his strength and offensive game this offseason.|
|23||Abdul Dial||Guard||Freshman||6'3"||1||0.3||0.3||0||50%||0%||0%||Was a late addition to the roster as a walk-on. Was also inserted early in the second half at Seton Hall.|
|24||Ron Mvouika||Guard/Forward||Graduate Transfer||6'6"||8.9||1.9||4.2||0.5||42%||42%||67%||Excellent leader, always engaged in the game, brings great toughness, great three-point shooting, and is a good ballhandler. He is slow footed defensively and has been quiet in too many first halves during conference play.|
|35||Yankuba Sima||Center||Freshman||6'11"||8.4||1.3||6.8||0.6||50%||50%||40%||Was the team's best player through the first two Big East games. Currently out with a broken hand but should be back in a "week or two."|
|45||Darien Williams||Forward||Junior||6'8"||3||0||3||0||33%||33%||75%||Stretch four who is not expected to return this year due to a shoulder injury.|
Because this team has spent the majority of the non-conference season adjusting to the college game and in the case of the international talents (Sima and Mussini), adjusting to the speed of the game, Mullin's up-and-down, run-and-gun NBA system hasn't been truly grasped. We have seen impressive flashes though. According to John Gasaway of ESPN, the Red Storm have averaged 81 possessions over 40 minutes in their last four games. They scored 83 points versus Xavier on Wednesday and played excellent in transition.
Finishing around the rim and becoming more efficient will be key for the rest of the season but next year, this style of play could flourish even more with the presence of quick guards and great passers, Shamorie Ponds and Marcus LoVett.
The energy, grit and passion has been there from day one with this group and with Sima coming back in the next week or so and the team showing their capabilities, a win is right around the corner.