St. John’s has committed to bring in Brooklyn-bred guard Rasheem Dunn, who played with Shamorie Ponds in high school.
Dunn has two years of eligibility remaining, and a unique situation. Dunn transferred from St. Francis Brooklyn to Cleveland State before last season, sitting out; Cleveland State fired their head coach, Dennis Felton, late this summer (July).
This spring, the NCAA explicitly stated that players whose coaches leave before fall classes start, but after enrolling in summer session can play immediately without a waiver.
That situation seemed esoteric at the time, but Rasheem Dunn’s situation fits the bill.
St. John’s had a scholarship left from the summer after the pursuit of immediately eligible bigs (like Luis Pacheco, a forward from Laurelton, Queens, who currently plays high school ball in Canada).
Dunn wanted to play closer to home, and has an opportunity to play at a higher level.
Dunn also considered Siena, Arkansas, New Mexico State and New Mexico.
How will Dunn impact the team, assuming eligibility? The Johnnies have Greg Williams Jr. as a returning guard, along with newcomers Johnathan McGriff and grad transfer Nick Rutherford who can play at the guard positions.
But given his quote in the New York Post about being the team’s third scorer, Dunn brings something that the Rutherford lacks and Williams may still need to learn — the ability to be a higher-usage, attacking guard.
Dunn is a low-turnover slasher who forces steals, rebounds well, and is capable at the free throw line (77% as a sophomore). However, he takes a fair number of threes (around 37%) but converts at a career rate of 25%; his two-point shooting percentage of 46% is decent, but not spectacular, for a 6’2” guard who plays below the rim.
On a good day, the relentless Dunn can crack 20 points. As a ballhandling threat in transition, he gives the Red Storm a third scorer who can play minutes, whereas Rutherford is more of a defensive presence.
Right now, the Red Storm have Mustapha Heron, LJ Figueroa and David Caraher as players who are known to be fairly high-usage scorers. Marcellus Earlington and Ian Steere could be offensive focal points as well, and the system may activate the scoring talents of players who had been quieter on the offensive end.
Alongside Heron and Figueroa, some player or players will need to consistently draw attention. Maybe Rasheem Dunn is that player. Given this roster, other players who can consistently hit threes will have value on a team that will need to stretch the floor and crash the glass to generate points.
Roster by class
SR: Mustapha Heron (G), Nick Rutherford (G)
JR: LJ Figueroa (G/F), Eli Wright (G), Rasheem Dunn (G), Damien Sears (F)
SO: Josh Roberts (F), Greg Williams Jr. (G), Ian Steere (F), David Caraher (G/F), Marcellus Earlington (G/F)
FR: Johnathan McGriff (G), Julian Champagnie (F)