When Rysheed Jordan committed to St. John's in the spring, Steve Lavin knew he was adding a dynamic point guard.
The five-star guard out of Roberts Vaux High School in Philadelphia will be the only freshman on Lavin's roster in 2013-14, but is expected to contribute immediately. Without yet having played a college game, Jordan is already making an impact in St. John's workouts.
"Rysheed is a game-changer for me because of his ability to get into the lane, making plays for myself and for others," transfer shooting specialist Max Hooper mentioned on Saturday at the Dribble for the Cure event held at St. John's. "The sky is the limit for him, and there is no limit to the impact that he can have for us."
The addition of Hooper provides St. John's with quite possibly its best perimeter shooter in over a decade, one who will greatly benefit from having a visionary guard on the floor with him. The Red Storm finished last season having converted a woeful 27% of its three-point attempts - an aspect the team must improve on to move up the Big East standings.
St. John's has worked diligently this offseason on improving its perimeter game. Returning offensive weapons and traditional basket-attackers like JaKarr Sampson and Sir`Dominic Pointer are seeking to be options from deep.
"Rysheed is going to be a great young freshman point guard," mentioned Sir'Dom Pointer. "He's already making things easier for us on the floor, as well as getting to the hoop."
Jordan joins a St. John's backcourt that already had potential in Jamal Branch, who suffered a knee sprain in February of last season that debilitated his progression as the team's point guard.
"Rysheed is a special player," said Steve Lavin on Saturday. "What is nice is that he is different [than Branch] and that they complement one another."
Known throughout his high school days as one of the quickest guards in the nation, Jordan gives the Johnnies an element that they missed a year ago. Though Branch also shares a keen ability to anticipate play development, he is more deliberate and works well working in the pick-and-roll set. Jordan, however, can blow past defenders without attracting traffic.
"One thing that jumps out [about Jordan] is that he's as impressive a guy I've ever coached in space, with the ability to create off the bounce and get into the heart of the defense," Lavin continued. "Right now, I feel that [Rysheed] is better without a screen than he is with a screen. Very similar to an option quarterback, he knows when to pitch it and when to hold it. He has that gift."
Jordan possesses the ability to create for others, yet realize when something isn't developing to plan, he can finish over the top of a defender. At 6-foot-3, he utilizes his size to his advantage in a variety of ways.
But perhaps the most advantageous part of adding Jordan to the fold will be diversification of Lavin's options. With a dynamic guard and such a deep roster that can turn into 12- or even 13-man rotations, St. John's will be able to use its best players in their natural positions, which will include keeping D`Angelo Harrison off the ball.
"He and Jamal are both doing an unbelievable job," said Harrison. "It's nice for me now that I don't have to waste a lot of energy doing all of that stuff."
It is still unknown how extensive Rysheed Jordan's impact will be for St. John's as a freshman, but you can bet that it will be felt. The guard will be a key piece to the Red Storm's contention for an NCAA Tournament bid come March.