The third in our newsstand magazine previews of St. John’s has a taste of shade for the Big East - and the Johnnies.
Editorial comments include: "the league may not have the juice of the ACC or Big Ten, but it certainly has established itself as a force, and with the league getting better top-to-bottom every season, it should continue to be a bigger player in years to come."
On St. John's: Chris Mullin is improving the talent level, but there isn't enough inside to make St. John's a contender. Things continue to get better in Jamaica but there is a long way to go.
The backcourt of Shamorie Ponds, Marcus LoVett and Justin Simon was listed as the fourth-best backcourt in the nation, behind Arizona, North Carolina and USC. Also on the list after St. John's are Miami, Villanova, Duke, Michigan State, Minnesota and Oklahoma.
In the write-up, which features a picture of Chris Mullin, with shots of Ponds and LoVett as well, there is a remark about how Chris Mullin wants Ponds and LoVett to have the ball less this year. The idea here is that they do not have to handle the ball as much as the talent and depth improves.
Instead, they can put pressure on defenses by "forcing rivals to defend more of the court," not attacking with the dribble but attacking by getting open and reshaping defenses.
Mullin hopes they will see more single coverage on the court. Ponds says he performed better than he thought he would last year, and is working on getting stronger and quicker; Mullin agrees, noting Ponds' demeanor, old-school feel for the game and tremendous instincts. Mullin wants more unselfish play from LoVett.
There are also some comments on the work Mitch Richmond does with the post players and the impact Bryan Trimble can have. Marvin Clark is a player "to keep an eye on" to give the team more interior pop.
Amusingly, the preview also includes a line about how questions surrounding Chris Mullin and whether he would struggle mightily as coach are "largely forgotten." We know of quite a few die-hard fans who question the job he has been doing, despite the rise in wins year over year.
On the national player ratings for point guards, Lindy's lists Marcus LoVett at #18; Joel Berry II of North Carolina is #1 and Villanova's Jalen Brunson is #2. Providence's Kyron Cartwright is #9.
On the player ratings for shooting guards, Shamorie Ponds is #11. Florida's KeVaughn Allen is tops on the list; Big East players who earned mentions were Marcus Foster at #5, Khadeen Carrington, slotting in at #8, and Markus Howard at #13.
No other returning Red Storm regular earned notice on the 20-player lists.
Predicted order of finish
- Seton Hall
- St. John's
All conference predictions
- Marcus Foster (Creighton)
- Jalen Brunson (Villanova)
- Trevon Bluiett (Xavier)
- Kelan Martin (Butler)
- Angel Delgado (Seton Hall)
Shamorie Ponds and Marcus LoVett both make the Second Team.