We asked the Rumble's readers (and friends) to pass along opinions of the past season - an 8-24 year that saw the beginning of what St. John's fans hope will be promising careers of Chris Mullin and of a number of players.
It was the beginning of SOMETHING - with a new coaching staff and replacing upwards of 90% of the previous year's minutes, this was like a college basketball expansion team - not a concept we often see in college ball.
By the numbers - we received 351 responses to the poll, which included the following questions:
- Did the season meet your expectations?
- What was your expectation in number of wins (ranges from 0-9, 10-13, 14-16, 17-20, 21+)
- Which player(s) impressed you (multiple players could be chosen)
- How did you think Chris Mullin did in his first year as a head coach, considering his situation (if you think that's an important factor) (A to F grades)
- How hopeful are you for a big leap next year? (options from "this will be an NCAA team" to "this team won't improve much")
- What big question or questions need to be answered in the offseason? (Long responses welcome)
We did the survey through Google, and we didn't check IP addresses or anything - so let's not pretend it's an entirely scientific poll. But it is a good way of getting a sense of what the community thinks of what happened last year, and what the hope is for next season... and so far, despite the record, the response is positive.
A note on graphics: we're not big fans of pie charts, but these Google-generated charts will do. If you find something unclear or too small to read let me know, and I will recreate it.
Did the Season meet expectations?
Apparently 68% of the respondents were dissatisfied. And you can see in the next pie chart why...
A reasonable expectation for this team was something around 10 or so wins, because no one expects a loss to Incarnate Word or to NJIT, and only one conference win. Thirty-two percent of respondents thought this team was going to win 14-16 games, however, so last year was the rudest awakening. (And five respondents thought the team could win at least 17 games which is impressively hopeful.)
Which of the new players stood out?
In our question about players who impressed, we allowed multiple answers - and the responses were dominated by the four freshmen, mostly.
Kassoum Yakwe - who impressed the Big East and also coach Chris Mullin - was the runaway winner of the "player who impressed" question, grabbing 264 votes - 78% of respondents. Christian Jones earned second place with 150 responses. Yankuba Sima and Federico Mussini were next and somehow, the impressive Malik Ellison only received 100 votes.
He's marking you all on a list of "H8rs" right now...
Grading the coaching job
As far as a coaching grade, and we don't put a lot of stock into grading a coach on one year, Mullin got an understanding response.
More respondents gave Mullin's coaching a "B" (39%) than any other response; the next biggest "slice" was the 36% who graded MUllin at "C".
Nearly 11% gave Mullin an "A". Eight percent gave him a "D" and 3% percent gave him an "F".
High hopes, we've got high hopes
The hopes for next year are high.
Thirty-eight percent of our respondents think St. John's can have a winning record and make the NIT. Now, we see we should have parsed that out - a team could have 18, 19 wins and not make the NIT - but still, there's optimism. Twelve percent of respondents think this team could be an NCAA squad.
Meanwhile, 36% of fans who participated think this is going to be a team around .500 with some good wins.
Twelve percent only see a slight improvement on the horizon and just 1% of respondents see no improvement coming.
The fans' big questions for the offseason
We received 138 comments from readers looking to the future. The responses could generally be categorized as:
- Can Chris Mullin game coach/ adjusting to talent level
- The point guard situation
- Rebounding/ paint presence and defense
- Getting good players/ transfers/ grad transfers/ better recruits (some specifying that five-star recruits are needed)
- Player development - better shooting, ballhandling, bulking up, free throw accuracy
- Generating offense
- A couple of get a five-star recruit
- Developing a rotation
- Can players play with more urgency/ play 40 minutes
Some selected comments
Thanks to these readers for allowing us to use their comments in the post!
Anonymous: What strides will the returning players make in the offseason?
NYCJOHNNIESFAN: There's a lot of fight in this team - but at times the team's collective effort wasn't there. There were often stretches during games when they seemed to give up; ie heads down after a turnover, settling for long outside shots, complaining to refs instead of getting back on D, getting out-hustled by a team that's ahead by 20+ points (that should NEVER happen). I think if this team gels by learning how to play better together, develops a stronger identity, runs more organized offense where everyone knows where to be, stops turning the ball over, this team has the athletic talent to compete (and beat) any of the Big East teams I see going to the NCAA Tournament this year. GOOD LUCK JOHNNIES; WORK HARD; STAY STRONG; KEEP YOUR HEADS UP; ALL TRUE WINNERS MUST LEARN HOW TO OVERCOME ADVERSITY; AND GET THOSE DEGREES!!
Tony: What is the plan to get a true point guard...not under [sized] shooting guards?
Anonymous: What nationally respected players can we get?
SJU85: Can Sima build up enough strength to compete against big competition. Can Yakwe improve on offense.
mclarkish: Mullin and staff are good recruiters. This season is an incomplete as whether they will be good in came coaches but I am optimistic.
Sean: DEFENSE!!! Figuring out a good rotation with incoming bigs Freudenberg, Owens, along with a good guard rotation of Mussini, Ponds, Lovett, Ellison, Williams
RobJones: How do you get the most out of Mussini?
Your thoughts/ reflections?