Sophomore point guard and sixth man Rysheed Jordan has returned to the St. John's squad following a leave of absence and will play tomorrow against Villanova, according to the school.
Jordan was not with St. John's, now ranked #24, against Butler this past weekend because of the passing of his grandmother. St. John's lost at home, with players commenting on how difficult it was to play with essentially five on the roster.
The funeral for Jordan's grandmother scheduled for Thursday.
"He had a very difficult week where he lost a loved one and we are trying to show as much support as we can for him," Steve Lavin said. "He had a challenging week and we're trying to get ready for Villanova."
D`Angelo Harrison said he met with Jordan when he arrived at the facility on Monday afternoon and he said that the two were on the same page following his leave from the team. Harrison also mentioned that Jordan would address the rest of the team before or after practice on Monday.
"He knows he let us down," Harrison said. "We love that guy to death. He's been around us like we're his older brother. I told him don't worry about it, it's in the past."
The star guard is going to give the Johnnies a boost tomorrow against one of the best teams in the Big East and possibly the country. Instead of the starting five playing 35 to 40 minutes, Jordan gets the Red Storm back to their original six man rotation - the rotation that led them to become the 15th ranked team in the country and gives the starters some time to improve their defensive energy level.
Jordan's return gives St. John's an attacking scoring/ creating option at the point guard position. The sophomore guard is also a great contributor on the defensive side with his length and athleticism. Even though Branch has been an unsung hero this year with his tremendous leadership, he isn't the threat to create his own shot that Jordan is.
Jordan also has great awareness in transition and can create easy baskets with his ability to finish at the rim.
Tuesday's game is as close to the definition of a must-win game as it gets this early in conference play. Playing a Wildcats team that will be focused following an overtime loss at Seton Hall, the Johnnies cannot afford to start their Big East schedule 0-3.
These two teams play similar styles of basketball. Both teams play tough defense with attacking guards, relying on their backcourts to score.
Jordan doesn't just provide depth for the Johnnies for the rest of the season, but he gives the team a major advantage athleticism-wise. This could prove to be the difference in the game and the chance to attack Villanova's back court.
"It's the biggest game of our careers," Phil Greene IV said. "Two top 25 teams looking for a win at the Garden."