Chris Mullin - and the Big East - know that the Red Storm have two of the most potent scorers in the league. According to the projections at Sports Illustrated, those two will continue to be high-level scorers...
But NOT the best sophomore scorers in the Big East.
In the rankings, a pair of Atlantic-10 players are at the top of the list in Peyton Aldridge of Davidson and Jaylen Adams of St. Bonaventure; Marcus Foster of Creighton is the fifth player in the list, with a predicted points per game average of 19.4 (slightly more than last season’s 18.2).
Trevon Bluiett, the Xavier wing who will be expected to compete for Big East Player of the Year honors, is #8 and returning sophomore Markus Howard of Marquette is #10 at 18.7 points per game, projected.
Howard shot 57% from outside the arc in conference play, while taking 31% of his team’s shots. I’m not sure how he is going to score more, because those are hard-to-believe numbers.
Shamorie Ponds is #18, with a slight increase to 17.8 points per game, up from 17.4; Marcus LoVett is listed at 16.6 points per game, up from 15.9.
Now, there are confounding factors here. Both Ponds and LoVett will want to defer to an interior game that should be stronger with Marvin Clark; Justin Simon will get some points as well.
And Ponds will need to improve on his in-conference three-point shooting percentage of 31%, which should boost his scoring average.
But those predictions seem sensible. The level of scoring from Ponds and LoVett, coupled with their already-efficient games, will be hard to improve on.
If the Johnnies are going to score more, it will have to come from improvements in the supporting cast.