As we take some time to look back on the player performances from last season, let us remember this roster turned halfway over in a season, and players who previously enjoyed lots of minutes in Chris Mullin’s first season found themselves biding more time on the bench, as to be expected as a coach gets in “his guys”.
In fact, quite a few players have left since Mullin has taken over - counting holdovers and commits Christian Jones, Chris Obekpa, Adonis DeLaRosa, Samir Doughty, Rysheed Jordan, and Mullin recruits Malilk Ellison, Darien Williams, Federico Mussini, Richard Freudenberg and Yankuba Sima. (And Sid Wilson, technically.)
But despite a flirtation with going to another program, Amar Alibegovic - always willing and by all accounts, a positive locker room presence - remains for his senior season.
It might be that Amar Alibegovic, the 6’9” forward with bruising size and positive energy, has found his role with St. John’s as a bench player who contributes when needed.
But Alibegovic didn’t have the explosive surprise outings of the previous year, a reflection of more competition for time on the roster.
Alibegovic’s high in minutes was 22 in a #StruggleBarz loss at Creighton, he didn’t score in double figures all season, and he didn’t even get to enjoy the Smashing of Syracuse. What does this year have in store for the longest-tenured Johnnie?
By the numbers
Amar Alibegovic shooting and rate percentages, all games
Alibegovic non-shooting stats: all games
Alibegovic shooting and rates, conference games
Alibegovic non-shooting stats: Big East games
Additionally: his foul rate remains high, more than seven fouls per 40 minutes.
G = games | Min% = percentage of minutes played | eFG% = effective field goal percentage (factors in extra weight foir three pointers made) | 3PAr = what percentage of attempts were three pointers | FTr = Rate of free throws attemoted to shots attempted | ORB = percentage of offensive rebounds obtained while on the court | DRB = percentage of defensive rebounds obtained while on the court | AST = percentage of teammates' shots assisted while on court |STL = % of opponent possessions that end in a steal by player while on court | BLK = % of opponent shots blocked while on court | TOV = percentage of possessions ending in a turnover by player | USG = percentage of possessions used by taking a shot, going to FT line, turning ball over | PF/40 = number of fouls committed per 40 minutes
Three things about Amar Alibegovic
His usage has gone down while he finds his role. Part of the downward turn in his usage is not just reduced minutes but also teammates who take more shots. In playing next to Marcus LoVett, Bashir Ahmed and Shamorie Ponds, Alibegovic had less of a chance to take shots, deferring to more efficient scorers.
His efficiency has increased each year. Up to 57% shooting inside the arc and 27% from beyond the three-point line, Alibegiovic has shown some improvement in Big East play.
Defensively, he doesn’t always show up in the box score. Numbers don’t show his energy on the floor... or how many times was burnt on the court in the post (though the foul rate or 7 per 40 minutes does indicate that).
No, the Italy native (and Bosnian in international play by heritage) isn’t likely to break out in a big way, and on this year’s roster, he might not drop 18 points against Villanova as he did two seasons ago.
And let’s not forget: Steve Lavin’s last remaining recruit, Alibegovic has not lost to the Syracuse Orange yet. And since it seems that they are not on next year’s schedule, he may go out The King of The Team From Central New York after this season. Barring a meeting in the NCAA Tournament, of course.
This year’s team has nine available scholarship players, and if the early games are any indication, foul trouble on the big men will be a season-long problem.
Amar Alibegovic is not just a big-bodied forward, but he is also a tall player who can score from the outside and, it seems, maybe inside the arc as well. And in transition, he can also be a solid finisher, able to dribble once or twice and get up for a smash finish.
Alibegovic has obviously been working on some post moves to utilize his big frame, as evidence by shot selection in the preseason.
And he will get some opportunities to shine. If the Italian/ Bosnian big man can be a low-turnover contributor, get to the right spots on defense while not trying to be a shot-blocker, he might have a nice coda to his Red Storm career, yet.