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St. John’s vs Maryville pregame: Heron out w/ concussion; polls, pundits like Johnnies

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A look at some of the national love the Johnnies have received; what to look for tonight

Wendell Cruz

Tonight, the season gets closer to the official beginning, with the preseason game against Maryville University (from St. Louis). The game starts at 6:30 PM on ESPN3.

The AP voters gave a few votes to St. John’s. (You COULD call them #46 in the country, I guess.)

Andy Katz has some love for the Johnnies too, including this caveat:

What will be Mustapha Heron’s impact be at Saint John’s? ... If he does get eligibility then the Red Storm would have an experienced compliment to Shamorie Ponds. The Red Storm need to find consistency. Getting more experience on the wing is a must to do so. Ponds has the potential to be Big East player of the year. But he won’t be if he doesn’t get help.

Sports Illustrated thinks the Red Storm are a dark horse candidate to win the conference.

ESPN has the Red Storm as third in the Big East preseason power rankings.

CBS likes St. John’s at #20.

Jeff Borzello on ESPN has St. John’s at 25, while John Gasaway at ESPN has the Red Storm at 28.

Per Paint Touches, the average ranking for the Johnnies in the preseason is between 4th and 5th, though the competition in the middle with Butler, Providence and Xavier is active in the minds of America’s hoops punditry.

All of which is to say, like the Queens Ledger has, that St. John’s men’s hoops enters 2018-19 with high expectations.

We will use this post as the Game Thread for tonight — let’s talk about the positives and negatives we see from the squad, who plays and who is missing, and think towards a future where the Red Storm don’t finish the season under .500.

Notes

Mustapha Heron is out tonight with a concussion. We will likely see more of L.J. Figueroa and Mikey Dixon in the backcourt; it will be a chance to give the freshmen some run, as well. Obviously, the Johnnies need to integrate Heron into the offense, so they will want him back soon to start working out the kinks.

What will we see from Shamorie Ponds? The playground approach, with shots taken just because? The pressing approach, where he takes more shots than he needs to? The distributor? This season will define Ponds’ game, as he gets national attention.

Will Marvin Clark II and Justin Simon maintain their solid play from last year or... improve with more athletes around them?