Saturday, November 1st, 2014
When: 2:00 PM Eastern
St. John's (0-0) vs Humboldt State Lumberjacks
Pomeroy Rank: St. John's: 39 | Humboldt State: [Division II]
Carnesecca Arena (Capacity: 5,602)
Where: Queens, NY
It's a new day and a new month - the month where basketball comes back to us, like a really frustrating but exciting balloon we set free - and it came back.
(Ok, I lost the analogy. It's preseason for us, too.)
The Red Storm, picked to finish third in the Big East and with NCAA Tournament aspirations, host the Humboldt State Lumberjacks this afternoon at Carnesecca Arena. We'll be in the house, so let's comments and discuss the team here!
What to watch for
Preseason games often don't say much about the team, facing an overmatched opponent. But you may remember last year's two-point exhibition win over San Francisco State, a sloppy game where many of the Johnnies seemed indifferent to their opponent, where the rebounding was questionable, where the opponent got penetration and kicked out for threes, where JaKarr Sampson was visibly frustrated.
Sure, Syracuse lost to LeMoyne years ago and managed just fine.
But those issues in last year's preseason game seem to be some of the same issues that plagued the talented Johnnies all year - and in the NIT season-ending loss to Robert Morris.
Last year, Dom Pointer told the media, "we played horrible defense tonight and they go too many easy, open shots. They came ready to play. This let us know that we have to come ready to play and play hard every time."
Rebounding/ the paint
There's been drama surrounding the program headed into the season - how will the team fare without the departed forwards, Orlando Sanchez, God`sGift Achiuwa and Jakarr Sampson? The anticipated answer was "JUCO forward Keith Thomas," who was reasonably expected to be a solid force on both the offensive and defensive glass.
But foul play with transcripts caught the eyes of the administration and the local news, and Keith Thomas is, it appears, done at St. John's. At the very least, he is no longer the answer to the problem.
Chris Obekpa has been listed as a breakout candidate by head coach Steve Lavin. Sir`Dominic Pointer will see time at power forward (and could put things together as a senior). And there are a number of big man newcomers on the floor for the Johnnies. Personally, I'm intrigued about Amar Alibegovic, who observers say looks interesting and hustles.
Still, the team returns a deep backcourt with room to grow - especially in sophomore Rysheed Jordan, learning to play a better floor game and shoot better from the field.
Can those improvements be a catalyst for better shots from Phil Greene IV and D`Angelo Harrison?
But will the team be wearing these blue threads this afternoon?
Other than that, what are you looking for?