2017-18 record: 16-17, 4-14 in the Big East
Head coach: Chris Mullin
Tenure at St. John's: 4th season
Career coaching record: 38-60
Home court: Carnesecca Arena
Starters: G Shamorie Ponds, G Mustapha Heron, F Josh Roberts, F Marvin Clark Jr., F Sedee Keita
Bench: G Mikey Dixon, G Bryan Trimble Jr., F LJ Figueroa, F Marcellus Earlington
Overview: Marked by inconsistent play and a streak of eleven straight losses to begin conference play, St. John’s had a disappointing 2017-18 season, tying for last place in the Big East. Strangely, though, those eleven losses were broken by a miraculous victory against Duke, ranked fourth in the nation at the time, in which starting point guard Shamorie Ponds erupted for 33 points. With Ponds being one of the best, if not the best, guard in the conference, and multiple key players joining the team, the Red Storm have an opportunity to do some damage in the Big East and challenge defending national champion Villanova after what was a disastrous season.
One of the biggest problems for St. John’s last year was rebounding, as the Red Storm ranked last in the Big East in percentage of total rebounds grabbed. And with the departure of starting center Tariq Owens, who grabbed 5.9 rebounds a game, things might only turn for worse. But St. John’s is welcoming several new faces to help: Sedee Keita, a 6-foot-9 transfer from a South Carolina team that reached the Final Four just two years ago, and Marcellus Earlington, a 6-foot-5 freshman.
On the offensive end, it’ll be interesting to see how the team switches things up from last season. For one, guard Mustapha Heron, who averaged 16.4 points at Auburn last season, will suit up this year for the Red Storm, introducing a Ponds-Heron backcourt that could one of the most lethal in college basketball. After three unsuccessful seasons under coach Chris Mullin, St. John’s hopes to prove that it is better than a .500 team.
One thing that needs to go right: With the departure of center Tariq Owens, all five on the court crash the boards to make up for their lack of size and inside presence.
One thing that could go wrong: With many new faces being added to the team, the Red Storm could struggle to overcome early growing pains on both ends of the court.
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