Last season St. John’s returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2014-15 season. However, they were bounced in the First Four by Arizona State.
Expectations around last season were higher. With the talent on that roster, many had hoped for so much more than a bubble team and an exit from the tournament in Dayton. As a result, Red Storm legend Chris Mullin was relieved of duties as head coach of the program.
Despite a long and seemingly messy coaching search this offseason, St. John’s found their guy in Mike Anderson.
Anderson’s first season in Queens figures to be a long one. On paper, this roster is devoid of proven talent. Additionally, this team is compromised almost entirely of newcomers. For sure there will be some growing pains.
Nevertheless, two bright spots on this Red Storm team figure to L.J. Figueroa and Mustapha Heron. Each player was a significant piece of coach Mullin’s last team. Figueroa is coming off a season in which he averaged about 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. His long frame combined with his athleticism makes him very tough to defend. As for Heron, he averaged around 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist per game. He also was one of St. John’s better shooters, hovering around the 40% mark from deep.
The Johnnies will likely rely heavily on Figueroa and Heron. They will be competing in what figures to be a stronger Big East than the previous season.
Below you can find the full coaches poll, as well as the preseason awards for the conference.
Big East Preseason Poll
1- Seton Hall 77 points
2- Villanova 76 pts
3- Xavier 52 pts
4- Marquette 50 pts
4- Providece 50 pts
6- Georgetown 49 pts
7- Creighton 45 pts
8- Butler 21 pts
9- St. John’s 19 pts
10- DePaul 11 pts
(Coaches don’t place their own teams on ballots)
BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year
Myles Powell, Seton Hall, G, Sr., 6-2, 195, Trenton, N.J.
BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova F, Fr., 6-9, 232, Overland Park, Kan.
BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team
Kamar Baldwin, Butler, G, Sr., 6-1, 190, Winder, Ga.
Ty-Shon Alexander, Creighton, G, Jr., 6-4, 195, Charlotte, N.C.
Markus Howard, Marquette, G, Sr., 5-11, 175, Chandler, Ariz.*
Alpha Diallo, Providence, G, Sr., 6-7, 210, New York, N.Y.*
Naji Marshall, Xavier, F, Jr., 6-7, 220, Atlantic City, N.J.*
BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team^
Paul Reed, DePaul, F, Jr., 6-9, 215, Orlando, Fla.
James Akinjo, Georgetown, G, So., 6-0, 180, Oakland, Cal.
L.J. Figueroa, St. John’s, G-F, Jr., 6-6, 195, Lawrence, Mass.
Mustapha Heron, St. John’s, G, Sr., 6-5, 210, Waterbury, Conn.
Collin Gillespie, Villanova, G, Jr., 6-3, 191, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
Jermaine Samuels, Villanova, F, Jr., 6-7, 222, Franklin, Mass.
Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Omer Yurtseven, Georgetown, C, Jr., 7-0, 275, Istanbul, Turkey
Paul Scruggs, Xavier, G, Jr., 6-4, 196, Indianapolis, Ind.
^Tie in the voting allowed for an additional honoree
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