For a St. John's team that will feature 10 new players in head coach Chris Mullin's first season back in Queens, it's easy to forget the three who actually will be returning in 2015-16. Believe it or not, among all of the new faces that Red Storm fans can expect to see this season both on the court and on the sidelines, there actually will be some roster turnover.
One of those three familiar faces on the Red Storm roster this season will be forward Amar Alibegovic, the foreign product who appeared in 24 games for St. John's in 2014-15.
How He Got Here
One of the final recruiting products of the Steve Lavin-era in Queens, Alibegovic announced his commitment to St. John's back in August of 2014. Although born in Oregon he spent much of his life in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he appeared in a number of international competitions.
He appeared on the Bosnian U-20 European Division B championship team in July of 2014, averaging 5.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, while shooting just under 55 percent.
A member of the final recruiting class in Steve Lavin's tenure at St. John's, Alibegovic wound up being the only 2014 recruit to actually appear in a game for the Red Storm last season, with both Adonis De La Rosa and Keith Thomas not playing after eligibility concerns.
Despite this, Alibegovic's freshman season left much to be desired from a production standpoint. Although he would start two games, Alibegovic averaged just eight minutes and 1.5 points per game last season, including a below-average 23 percent 3-point percentage.
What He Brings To the Table
Going into last season, Alibegovic was looked at as a sharp shooter who could provide some instant scoring production off the bench. Although that never seemed to transpire in 2014-15, his minutes were limited, and it'll be interesting to see if his role expands at all this year on a Red Storm team that does not have any of the certainty from years prior.
Regarding his relationship with his new head coach, Alibegovic was nothing but positive on the team's Media Day in October. "When Coach Mullin came I couldn't believe it," he said. "As soon as I got to meet him I found that he was a great can and that I can relate to him, so that has motivated me even more to just work hard every day."
Where He Fits In
In a season full of question marks, just what type of role Alibegovic and his fellow returnees—Christian Jones and Felix Balamou—will play in the rotation remains one of the biggest.
With the development of new recruits seemingly a priority for this new coaching staff, will Alibegovic get lost in the shuffle? Or, as one of the few players on the Red Storm roster with Division I collegiate experience, will this staff lean on Alibegovic and his fellow returnees for big minutes early?
Either way, this should be a truly decisive year in determining Alibegovic's role for the rest of his St. John's career.