Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:St. John's
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:00 pm
 

Your SEC/Big East Challenge guide



By Matt Norlander


What do you want in a preview? I've been self-assigned (is that even possible?) to give you the rundown on all of the SEC and Big East games coming up over the next 72 hours, and I wasn't quite sure where to go with this. After all, these are early-December games, half of them are afterthoughts, and preview material is usually come-and-go outside of preseason and NCAA tournament talk.

So I looked at the games and decided I'll just give you whatever random thought comes off the top of my head. A conversational tone works best here, since there are no real true tilts of consequence involved outside of the fantastic ones going on Friday night Louisville and Syracuse. (I'll be at the latter.) If there's a stat sited, I do not have it memorized. Those I looked up. I'm not huge on predictions, so you won't find those here.

All this said, I do expect these 12 games to be better than what the ACC and Big Ten gave us Tuesday and Wednesday night, by the way. If you have any other curiosities that go beyond this post, check our SEC/Big East Challenge page, which has the history of this event and stats that go along with it.

Thursday

Providence at South Carolina (7 ET): Oh this is just bad. Providence is a few years away from true relevancy, and Darrin Horn is already coaching for his job at South Carolina. NEXT.

St. John's at Kentucky (7:30 ET): Wildcats get the Johnnies tonight, less than 48 hours before Carolina comes in. I'd say St. John's would have a chance, except they're playing Kentucky. Kind of a problem. SJU doesn't have one senior on its roster and head coach Steve Lavin will not be making the trip. Kentucky will be looking ahead to UNC, but the 'Cats should win by a minimum of 23.4 points.

Ole Miss at DePaul (9 ET): Have a sick interest in this game if for no other reason than I want to know how many people show up to watch it. Have to say, the fact these teams are a combined 9-2 is a welcomed surprise.

Georgetown at Alabama (9:30 ET): Best game of the night, period. Are you sure what Georgetown is yet? We do know the Hoyas take care of the ball very well. That early trend could be bucked in Tuscaloosa, though, because Alabama is on its way to being a top-five defensive team in the country. Teams are shooting a 35.7 effective field goal percentage against the Tide. Second-worst in the country.

Friday

Florida at Syracuse (7 ET): I'll keep this strictly to basketball, because I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do that one I get there to cover the game. Basically, I'm intrigued as hell. I love Bradley Beal's (right, with Billy Donovan) game. I'm still not sold on Florida's four-guard look, even if Patric Young gets his chances to play janitor when that happens. No Erik Murphy for the Gators means they're less dynamic. I like Syracuse is a really fun one. With the Orange, you're just never sure who's going to be the player that has the big game. Looks like someone's going to need to decidedly have a huge night to beat a team a lot of people like to make the Final Four.

Cincinnati at Georgia (7 ET): Car-wreck factor has be interested. When will Cinci start playing at a level that's indicative of the talent it has on this team? Georgia's in a third-gear year, I think.

Vanderbilt at Louisville (9 ET): What do you think about this one? Vanderbilt certainly not expected to win it (I haven't checked, but I'd put the Cards at about -4.5 here). Louisville's still not at full strength, nor is Vandy. Goodman's going to be at this game. I think this one adds up to little, even if it's nice in the moment. Because come late February, both these teams will have personnel on the floor that didn't play in this game. If Vandy/'Ville are vying for the 3-seed line and you want to give the winner of this the bid, by all means, but beyond that there won't be much long-term effect from this game. I think John Jenkins struggles in this one, too.

Auburn at Seton Hall (9 ET): Oh, get it out of my face, please.

Saturday

Arkansas at UConn (3:15 ET): The Hogs are without Marshon Powell and so I don't see how Mike Anderson's new team keeps this within 20. UConn's due for a really impressive, really big win. I want to see how Alex Oriakhi plays in front of the home crowd in Hartford. Oriakhi's been public with this playing-time situation. UConn will grow and stumble a little more in December, but I'm betting we're putting this team in the highest echelon by New Year's Day.

Pittsburgh at Tennessee (5:15 ET): I'd call this game the biggest true toss-up of any listed here. I'm down on Pitt this year in regard to most others. A win here would be very uplifting for Jamie Dixon's team. Same can be said for Cuonzo Martin at Tennessee, who's probably still punching the pillow after his Vols couldn't steal that game against Memphis in Maui.

LSU at Rutgers (7 ET): Just a couple of truly nondescript, non-enthralling 4-3 BCS conference teams. I think I'd rather put away my summer clothes into storage.

West Virginia at Mississippi State (9 ET): The final game of the Challenge, it's the kind of game MSU should win without controversy if it wants to be top-20 caliber. WVU is down, considerably down, this season. The Bulldogs have twice as much talent on this team -- and a lot more size, even if Denis Kilicli will bruise it up down low with Renardo Sidney and/or Arnett Moultrie. The flip side: Huggins has been known to get his team to steal wins in these kind of spots.

Photos: AP
Posted on: November 19, 2011 12:25 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 12:55 pm
 

Garrett on track to enroll soon at St. John's

By Jeff Borzello

NEW HAVEN, CONN. – A lack of depth has hindered St. John’s in its first few games, but help could soon be on the way in the form of Amir Garrett.

Garrett, who originally committed to the Red Storm as part of their monster 2011 recruiting class, is still on track to enroll at St. John’s at the semester break. He is currently at Bridgton Academy, a prep school in Maine. 

"If you ask me, I'd say yes," head coach Whit Lesure said. "He's on track and there's no question about that."

"I just need to finish out this semester and submit my classes," Garrett added. "I should be good."

Garrett was one of three St. John’s signees ruled ineligible by the NCAA prior to the season, along with Norvel Pelle and Jakarr Sampson. Pelle and Sampson have both decommitted from the Red Storm, but Garrett is still solid in his pledge.

"I'm very anxious to get out there," he said. "Me and [St. John's signee] Darrick [Wood] pretend we're St. John's in practice." 

He should fit in well with St. John’s, giving Steve Lavin another perimeter playmaker to provide depth. The Red Storm have used seven players almost exclusively, with each of them averaging between 19.8 and 33.6 minutes per game.

Garrett, a 6-foot-6 lefty swingman, is a tremendous athlete who excels in transition and can play multiple positions on the perimeter. He is aggressive going to the rim and has the ability to find players off penetration.

"He's ultra-competitive," Lesure said. "He's a high-energy guy, and he's going to help with the way they use the full-court, spacing people out. You need people to put the ball in the basket."

Garrett said he won't redshirt when he arrives in Jamaica; he plans to play.

"I can't wait to get out there." 

Photo: SI

Posted on: November 8, 2011 4:22 pm
 

Lavin returns to St. John's practice

By Matt Norlander

There is still no definitive timetable for when he will coach in a game again, but Tuesday, according to ESPNNewYork.com, Steve Lavin showed up at St. John's practice.

The second-year Red Storm coach announced at the end of last season that he had prostate cancer. A little more than a month ago, Lavin had successful surgery to remove the cancer.

From ESPNNewYork.com's Kieran Darcy:
It is still undecided whether Lavin will coach the team's next game, Wednesday night versus Lehigh. Lavin's surgery was deemed "a success" by the coach in a statement released by the school, and the coach has been consulting with his doctor daily about when to return to the team. He receives a DVD of every practice at his Manhattan apartment and is putting together the team's daily practice plans based on watching them.

Lavin is slowly making his way back to the young team, a team that defeated William & Mary on college basketball's opening night Monday.


Posted on: November 8, 2011 11:00 am
Edited on: November 8, 2011 11:04 am
 

No timetable for Lavin's return

By Jeff Borzello

St. John’s won its opener without Steve Lavin on the sidelines, and it still remains unclear on when he will return.

Lavin is currently at home recovering from prostate cancer surgery on Oct 6.

“He’s starting to get back to normal,” Gene Keady said after Monday night’s game against William & Mary. “He laughs a lot now. He walks a lot. He’s making some progress about getting back to a normal life.”

Keady, the former Purdue head coach, was brought on last year as a special assistant to Lavin. Assistant coach Mike Dunlap, known for his X's and O's acumen, has taken over head coaching duties with Lavin out.

There is no set return date for Lavin to come back to the St. John’s bench, although some have been pointing to early December as the timetable.

“It’s basically when he wants to,” a source told CBSSports.com. “When he feels ready.”

St. John’s faces Arizona on Nov. 17, then the championship or consolation game of the 2K Sports Classic. The Red Storm also head to Kentucky on Dec. 1 as part of the SEC-Big East Challenge.

Lavin went 21-12 in his first season with St. John’s, leading the Red Storm to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002. He also signed one of the top three recruiting classes in the country.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: November 7, 2011 10:12 pm
 

Despite win, new St. John's era not as expected



By
Jeff Borzello

JAMAICA, N.Y. – The first half of Monday night’s opener against William & Mary certainly wasn’t what was envisioned with the talk of a new era in St. John’s basketball.

Steve Lavin at home recovering from prostate surgery; three top recruits ineligible for the start of the season; and a nine-point deficit to William & Mary in front of a lackluster crowd at Carnesecca Arena.

The second half, though, was the future – and present – at St. John’s. Overwhelming defensive pressure, effective transition offense and a youthful energy that has been missing from the Red Storm program for most of the past decade. Moreover, the 4500 fans in the building woke up and made it tough for William & Mary.

With four players scoring in double-figures, St. John’s dominated the second half en route to a 74-59 win over the Tribe. A 22-5 run after W&M scored to open the stanza put the Red Storm on top, with constant turnovers from the Tribe guards putting the game out of reach.

“The way we played in the second half is the way St. John’s plays,” freshman guard D’Angelo Harrison said.

Outside of 3-point shooting, St. John’s handled William & Mary in nearly all facets of the game. The Red Storm outscored the Tribe 44-10 in the paint, 28-0 off turnovers, 9-2 on second-chance opportunities and 16-0 in fast-break points. They forced 21 William & Mary turnovers and shot nearly 68 percent from the field in the second half.

St. John’s used seven players in the game, six of them newcomers and four of them playing college basketball for the first time. Despite the lack of depth, the Red Storm pressed throughout the game, drifting back into an active and aggressive 2-3 zone when William & Mary broke the full-court pressure.

Nurideen Lindsey (pictured) led the way with 19 points, the majority coming off steals and deflections that led to transition baskets at the other end. The athleticism and length of St. John’s simply wore down William & Mary in the second half.

“When the guys came out, we were a little tight,” Lindsey said. “We didn’t come out ready to play. We knew we had to turn it up a notch; we got more intense into the game. During halftime, we got together collectively and we understood that, defensively, that’s what we had to do.”

God’s Gift Achiuwa, the famously-named junior college transfer, went for 17 points and nine rebounds. More importantly, though, he stayed out of foul trouble and played 38 minutes. Moe Harkless had 17 points and eight rebounds.

During the first half, it seemed like St. John’s was looking for someone to take the reins in the huddle and be a leader. Harrison took on that role in the second half, becoming the emotional and vocal general the Red Storm needed. Once the intensity was there, talent simply took over.

“You can say it brought us together,” Harrison said. “Every game is an experience for us.”

“We were just playing basketball out there,” Harkless added. “I couldn’t really predict how the first game would go, but it’s definitely a great feeling.”

When Harkless first committed to St. John’s in August of 2010, no one knew what to expect. What followed was a whirlwind of commitments from across the country, both high school and junior college. There were three casualties along the way – Amir Garrett, JaKarr Sampson, Norvel Pelle – but the new faces of St. John’s basketball were still unknown to most people.

Tonight might have been the culmination of all the hype and anticipation of the last 15 months – or are we still waiting for the page to turn in Red Storm basketball lore? Lavin still hasn't returned and at least two recruits are waiting to be cleared.

This wasn’t Steve Lavin coaching Norm Roberts’ players. Heck, it wasn’t even Steve Lavin coaching Steve Lavin’s players.

But make no mistake; this is a new era in St. John’s basketball – even if it’s not how everyone pictured it.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: October 20, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 8:26 am
 

The Poll Attacks are back

By Gary Parrish

The Coaches Poll
just got released.

I've looked it over good.

Now it's time to Poll Attack.

----- NO PROBLEMS AT THE TOP -----

Before looking at the poll I knew I'd be OK at the top as long as North Carolina and Kentucky got every first-place vote, and that's exactly what happened. Thirty-one coaches voted. Thirty put UNC No. 1. One put UK No. 1. And I'm cool with that. But a No. 1 vote for any other school would've been silly and an example of a voter being different just for the sake of being different, and I hate voters like that. So I'm glad the Coaches Poll didn't feature any voters like that. That's why I start with praise.

But how did St. John's get 11 votes?

The top eight players from last season's team -- that's one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight -- are all gone, leaving Malik Stith as the leading returning scorer. He's a 5-foot-11 guard who averaged 3.3 points in 12.2 minutes per game last season. Meantime, three of the top recruits have been ruled academically ineligible, which leaves St. John's with, I believe, just seven scholarship players. None of the veterans are impact players at the Division I level. None of the newcomers are named Anthony Davis or Andre Drummond. So this is not a team that should be getting votes for the Top 25. It's a team that should instead be picked about 12th in the Big East, which is where Big East coaches placed the Red Storm earlier this week.

And VCU getting four votes doesn't make much sense, either.

Look, nobody loves Shaka Smart more than me.

He's terrific.

But Jamie Skeen is not walking through that door.

And neither is Brandon Rozzell.

Or Joey Rodriguez.

Or Ed Nixon.

That means four of the top five scorers from last season's team are gone, and even that team -- the team with Skeen, Rozzell, Roriguez and Nixon -- finished just fourth in the Colonial ... behind George Mason, Old Dominion and Hofstra. People forget that because of the run to the Final Four. But the truth is that VCU was a bubble team for four months last season, and this team isn't as talented as that team. Perhaps Smart will prove me wrong. God knows he's done it before. But for now the Rams shouldn't be on anybody's Top 25 ballot.

Posted on: October 5, 2011 3:09 pm
 

Lavin to have prostate-cancer surgery Thursday



By Matt Norlander


The biggest win of Steve Lavin's life should hopefully come on Thursday. The St. John's coach, who in April announced he had been battling prostate cancer since the fall of 2010, will have surgery to eliminate his prostate cancer.

Lavin will go under the knife at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, one of the elite treatment centers in the world. It's primary location, where Lavin will have his surgery, is in Manhattan. He's expected to return to coaching after an undetermined "recovery period." That could be a week, could be a month -- until the surgery is complete, no one really knows.

But that's not an issue right now, of course. Getting Lavin cancer-free is the target, and it's an extremely optimistic one right now.

“The advantage of early detection is that we were afforded the time to research all options,” Lavin said in a statement. “After weighing treatment options with the experts at Sloan we have decided surgery is the best path to take for my particular prostate cancer condition. We are confident that this course of treatment will lead to a cancer-free life.”

Peter T. Scardino, the Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center said, “It is highly likely that this treatment will completely cure coach Lavin’s condition.”

According to St. John's, Lavin helped to raise more than $1 million for Coaches vs. Cancer since he became head coach of the team in March of 2010. He's also been a longtime contributor and supporter of the charity. And recently, Lavin and the program brought out more than 400 people for their “Dribble For The Cure” fundraiser on Sept. 24.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: September 23, 2011 2:13 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 2:31 pm
 

Big East leadership questioned by coaches

By Jeff Goodman

Some guys just aren't cut out to be head coaches. They make better assistants.

Big East Commissioner John Marinatto may be one of those guys.

"I firmly believe we would manage this a lot better with a different leader," said one Big East head coach, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "He's a good man, a good right-hand man. But I think he's in over his head."

To be fair, Marinatto was thrust into an unenviable situation, following the late Dave Gavitt and Mike Tranghese as the leaders of the Big East.

Marinatto's resume reads as follows: A Providence kid who graduated from Providence College in 1979, then later went onto become the athletic director at the school for 14 years. He was the associate commissioner of the Big East from 2002-2009, when he took over for Tranghese.

"There's just no way it would have gotten to this point if Dave or Mike were still in charge," another Big East head man said.

One thing is for certain: Gavitt and/or Tranghese wouldn't have had the news of Syracuse and Pittsburgh's departure delivered to him in a football press box on Saturday - as has been reported to be the case with Marinatto.

"I'm not sure how it would have worked out, but it would have," a coach in the league said about the overall situation the league now finds itself.

``I doubt it," answered yet another when posed the question whether this would have occurred under previous leadership.

However, with Syracuse and Pittsburgh departing for the ACC at some point (likely prior to 2014) and UConn begging and pleading to join the exodus, Marinatto has come under fire.

While there are certainly those who are skeptical, Marinatto does still have his share of support.

"I think eventually this would have happened anyway," one coach said. "Everyone wants to put it on Marinatto, but this is a league that's been built on instability."

Now the future of the Big East - and the way it'll be comprised - is in jeopardy. Will it add a couple members to replace what is has lost - and may lose - and move forward? Or will it re-shape itself for improved long-term stability and go the route of the "basketball-only" schools, thus going hard after Xavier and Butler?

We'll see what Marinatto does - and whether his fate mirrors that of outgoing Big 12 commish Dan Beebe, who's at left of Marinatto in the photo above.

Photo: AP
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com