Earlier this week, the 2014-15 edition of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook was released, giving an in-depth analysis of all 345 Division I Men's Basketball teams. (You should purchase it.) Here are some interesting notes on what the preview had to say about St. John's this season.
St. John's picked 4th in Big East
The Red Storm were picked by Blue Ribbon to finish fourth in the conference this season, behind Villanova, Georgetown, and Providence. It was also noted that St. John's would have been a top 25 team had JaKarr Sampson returned for his Junior year. That being said, the magazine would go on to write, "even without him, the Red Storm will challenge for the Big East title and be an NCAA Tournament contender."
They were also picked as having the best backcourt in the conference, with guard D`Angelo Harrison being selected to the All-Conference Team.
Uncertainty at forward
Also noted in the preview was the much discussed uncertainty of the inexperienced St. John's frontcourt this season. Aside from senior leader Sir`Dominic Pointer, the Red Storm have just one year of D-I experience combined from each of their other forwards who figure to play a role in their frontcourt this year.
Keith Thomas, Amar Alibegovic, and Adonis Delarosa each have yet to play in a Division I college basketball game, while Christian Jones missed all of last season after an injury.
With the uncertainty up front, it was also noted that Adonis' older brother, Joey Delarosa, may also figure into the St. John's lineup this season - or wait to play until next season.
Joey Delarosa still has one year of eligibility remaining after transferring from FIU, and according to head coach Steve Lavin, he'll have the option to either be cleared and play this season after the first semester, or to sit out and play all of the 2015-16 season.
Where will Sir'Dominic Pointer play?
Being the only player in the Red Storm frontcourt with a sizable amount of Division I experience coming into the year, it's clear that Pointer will play a decent role for St. John's in 2014-15. But just where exactly he will line up, the preview noted, is still up in the air.
Sir`Dominic aka CostCo aka Ziggy has the ability to play either as either a two, three, or even an undersized four if Lavin decides to go with a smaller, guard oriented lineup, wrote Blue Ribbon. He'll likely remain as the team's sixth man for this season, providing consistent production for Lavin off the bench.
Warm words for Phil Greene
Guard Phil Greene IV received quite a bit of praise from Blue Ribbon, being called the team's "understated contributor," as evidenced by his effective 40% 3-point percentage and team-leading 2.72 assist-to-turnover ratio. Included in the preview was a quote from Lavin, who commented on this being Greene's first healthy offseason in two years, saying "he's capable of elevating his play and helping our cause along with it. We can see he's got his jets back."
Lavin's high expectations
Closing out the preview was a quote from Lavin, who expressed the high expectations that he has for his senior-laden team this season.
"We've got five seniors on this team who came here when we had no returning players," said Lavin. "They were there as a freshman when we won 13 games. They had 17 wins as sophomores, 20 wins last year. Now we want to take it to the next level and get back to the NCAA Tournament."
Are Lavin's expectations for this year's team within reason? Or is this just wishful thinking by the coach?