St. John's Red Storm
2016-17 record: 14-19, 7-11 in the Big East
Head coach: Chris Mullin
Tenure at St. John's: Third season
Career coaching record: 22-43
Home court: Carnesecca Arena
Starters: G Shamorie Ponds, G Marcus LoVett, G/F Bashir Ahmed, F Kassoum Yakwe, F Tariq Owens
Bench: G Bryan Trimble Jr., F Marvin Clark II, F Sedee Keita
Overview: St. John’s has one of the best backcourts in the country in sophomore Shamorie Ponds and redshirt sophomore Marcus LoVett. Last season, Ponds broke the Red Storm’s freshman scoring record, averaging 17.4 points per game, and is a legitimate threat to lead the Big East in scoring this season. Ponds’ biggest competition for the conference scoring lead might be his own teammate, as LoVett also finished in the top 10 in scoring last season with 15.9 points per game. Both guards were unanimous selections to the Big East All-Freshman squad and should only improve in year two.
Down low, Chris Mullin’s squad will rely on multiple transfers headlined by redshirt juniors Tariq Owens and Marvin Clark II as well as lockdown defenders Kassoum Yakwe and Tariq Owens, who finished first and second in the conference in blocks per game last season.
What needs to go right: Mullin’s transfers make an immediate impact, and Ponds and LoVett build off impressive first seasons as St. John’s finishes near the top of the Big East and snags a bid to the NCAA tournament.
What could go wrong: With regression from either Ponds or LoVett, the Red Storm fail to improve in Mullin’s third season at the helm and miss out on the postseason again.
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