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Steve Lavin & St. John's "part ways"; St. John's coaching job is open

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

From the St. John's press release:

Lavin mentored two BIG EAST Rookies of the Year, two Most Improved Players, a Defensive Player of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year over his five years of service at St. John’s. The four-year members of St. John’s nationally ranked 2011 recruiting class – D’Angelo Harrison (2,178), Phil Greene IV (1,243), Sir’Dominic Pointer (1,078) – each scored more than 1,000 points in their careers and are on schedule to earn their degrees in May with fellow seniors Jamal Branch and Khadim Ndiaye.

"In life change is inevitable, so I take the long view. I'm grateful for my time teaching at St. John’s University," said Lavin. "I will take with me the lasting friendships forged during my tenure as Head Coach. I'm proud of our results both on and off the court - in particular our memorable runs to the NCAA tournament in 2011 and 2015. Most importantly, I take pride in our performance in the classroom having graduated our student athletes who will represent the institution in a first class manner."

"Take the long view" seems synonymous with "asked to leave."

Steve Lavin leaves after having gotten the Red Storm to two NCAA Tournaments, but with it he has brought in players who were not eligible. Moreover, though the last five years are decent on paper, the next five looked like a giant question mark.

Still, kudos to Lavin's successes, and here's what we will miss, good and bad:

- Lavin's ability to market the program
- Spectacular late season recruits
- Mary Ann Jarou
- The mid-season Lavin loss to a weak team as the squad is figuring itself out
- The ability to relate to a wide range of players
- Gene Keady
- Wordy, hard to transcribe press conferences with great analogies
- The attempt to teach his players to play intuitive basketball - hard to defense against when it's working
- Peaking in February

But for St. John's, recruiting - and the energy to recruit - seemed to have waned, and Lavin's plan for the next class was, at best, incomplete. Next season could come without Rysheed Jordan or Chris Obekpa, two players who had on and off-court issues. Without them, the team returns Amar Alibegovic, Felix Balamou, Christian Jones and Adonis Delarosa on scholarship.

Who comes next? Sources say the school may be looking at a famous alum to helm the program. Other fans look at the success that New Jersey-bred Bobby and Danny Hurley have had.

Either way, the next few weeks will be interesting, as the program looks to hire a coach - and that coach looks to bring in players with many scholarships open. Brandon Sampson, a top-50 guard, is a verbal commit but unsigned; only Samir Doughty is signed to St. John's.

The next coach will need to rebuild bridges in NYC - starting with Christ the King and star player Rawle Alkins - while maintaining a high level of recruiting to compete with the rest of the league, as Lavin had done. Coupled with, frankly, better coaching and development, the right hire could bring on a great generation of St. John's hoops.

The wrong hire... could be gone in four years, leaving St. John's to look for the next hope.

What are your thoughts on the decision? What will you miss?