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The Red Storm know improvements are needed to do better than predictions

St. John’s predicted to finish in 6th place in the Big East Preseason’s Coaches’ Poll.

Chris Mullin addresses the media at the 2017 Big East Men’s Basketball Media Day, held in Madison Square Garden

Chris Mullin and four of his players - Marcus LoVett, Shamorie Ponds, Bashir Ahmed, and Amar Alibegovic - were all smiles today as they represented the Red Storm at the 2017 Big East Conference Men’s Basketball Media Day at Madison Square Garden.

Underneath the smiles was a determination to do better than the expectations set on the team by the league’s coaches poll.

Before the opening remarks were made by the Big East Conference commissioner, Val Ackerman, the Big East Preseason Coaches Poll results were announced. The Red Storm edged out Marquette and Butler for 6th place in the coaches poll, after last year’s significant improvement - going 7-11 in conference play after finishing the 2015-16 campaign with one 1 Big East win.

St. John’s sophomore guards Marcus LoVett and Shamorie Ponds, both Big East All-Freshman team members last season, were both named members of the Big East Preseason All-Conference Second Team. They are listed alongside Providence seniors Kyron Cartwright and Rodney Bullock, Villanova junior Mikal Bridges, and Marquette sophomore Markus Howard.

With those accolades in mind, Shamorie Ponds was not shy in detailing his team’s vision for the upcoming season. “We feel like we have a squad that can beat any team on any given night,” Ponds said. “Being placed 6th in the poll is nice but we feel that we have a team that should definitely make the NCAA Tournament.”

Chris Mullin emphasized the importance of getting over a bigger hurdle in year 3 of his tenure, saying, “last year was somewhat easy in terms of making improvements. This year will be tougher, but our squad is determined to compete with the best teams in our conference.”

To finally contend with Xavier and Villanova, the Red Storm will have two highly-touted transfers, 6’5” sophomore guard Justin Simon and 6’7” junior forward Marvin Clark II.

Simon, who came from Arizona, is expected to play significantly at point guard in a three-guard lineup, which will also consist of LoVett and Ponds.

Clark II, who came off the bench for two seasons at Michigan State for Tom Izzo, is expected to improve the frontcourt for St. John’s, which finished dead last in the conference in team rebounding.

The lone incoming freshman, guard Bryan Trimble Jr., will likely serve as a role-player off the bench for coach Mullin this season.

The Johnnies will need to bring their determination from today’s event for the start of the regular season if they want to achieve their main goal of reaching the making the NCAA March Madness Tournament.

St. John’s opens their preseason with a game on November 1st, hosting the American University at 7 PM at Carnesecca Arena.