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Style, swag, expectations: the Red Storm at Big East Media Day notebook

Red Storm represented well at Big East Media Day with the foursome expected to lead the squad

Wendell Cruz

Another one of those pre-season check points has come and gone: Big East Media Day.

By this time next week, St. John’s will have played its first public scrimmage and be preparing for the season opener against Loyola University Maryland.

In preparation for the beginning of the season, Coach Chris Mullin, Marvin Clark II, Mustapha Heron, Shamorie Ponds, and Justin Simon answered some pressing questions.

“Prepared for this”

During the initial coaches panels at the beginning of Media Day, Coach Mullin concisely summed up St. John’s expectations for the season: “We’re looking to deliver.”

Marvin Clark II echoed those sentiments. When asked if there were any unique challenges to this season, Clark responded, “definitely, winning. We haven’t proven that we’re a[n] above .500 team, and I think for us... that’s something we definitely want to prove this year.”

Finally, when asked the expectations for the year, Ponds coolly replied, “I feel like there’s no pressure for us. We’re ready for [whatever is] coming at us. We prepared for this. We’re just ready to get this season rolling.”

Ponds later continued, “We[‘re] just preparing everyday. I feel like with this group of guys we [have] got, we can go very far.”

St. John’s roster has added multiple pieces for this season. The Red Storm will also return six players who accounted for 58% of the total minutes last season.

When asked how the offense will be different from last season, Justin Simon replied, “our personnel is different, so I mean it’s going to look a whole lot different. [We have] a lot of play-makers out there, versatile guys, a lot of depth, so you’re going to see a lot of different looks.”

Speaking of that new personnel, in regards to who Simon thinks viewers should be excited to see, Simon said, “everybody that hasn't wore a St. John’s uniform yet... they should look forward to seeing those guys. Guys like Mustapha {Heron], LJ [Figueroa], our freshman, Mikey Dixon, Sedee Keita. We [have] a good core coming back, but the new guys, the newcomers, they should be exciting for everyone.”

Individual improvements

As expected, the guys from last year put in work over the summer in preparation for this season (Bryan Trimble Jr., Clark, Simon, Dixon).

Ponds spent time this offseason working out for NBA teams to better gauge his NBA Draft stock. Ponds received feedback that included improved playmaking. “It’s [about] increasing the assist rate for guys that can make shots around me,” Ponds said when asked about being Ponds the Playmaker.

Simon put notable work into his outside shooting this offseason. When asked how many threes he took this offseason, Simon chuckled and responded, “I couldn't give you the exact number, but a lot, a lot. That’s something I've been working on almost every day with Coach Mullin, Mitch Richmond, and Marvin [Clark]. [Marvin and I] get in the gym a lot, and we work, daily grind.”

Dressed to impress

Not only did the Big East athletes help put on a successful Big East Media Day, they looked good doing so.

When Heron was asked about the no-tie look, he smiled and replied, “I’m not a fan of ties. They’re too restrictive.”

In regards to how Clark is continue to “cleanup nice” during the season and even challenge Bryan Trimble’s shoe game, Clark said, “it’s definitely going to be a challenge. [Trimble] has some drip to him, some swag to him.”

When asked if Clark had any previews, he replied, “you’ll [have] to wait and see. I’ve got some stuff in the works, for sure. I’ve got some stuff on ice.”

For example, Clark referred to the shoes he wore for Tip-Off.

Clark mentioned, “I got those my first year here. That was the first time I wore them. I got some more stuff like that too, in the stash.”

Conclusion

Big East Media Day confirmed that St. John’s basketball program has similar expectations to that of its fan base: it is time to win.

Clark, Heron, Ponds, and Simon seem prepared to meet those expectations head on in the early going; what will the results show on the court? We start to find out next week against Maryville.