#29 St. John’s Red Storm: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season.  We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

With pretty much everybody returning from last year and a few key additions, the St. John’s Red Storm appear ready to make a move in the Big East.

ST. JOHN’S RED STORM
Last Season: 11th, 8-10 in Big East, 17-16 overall
Predicted Big East Finish: 4th

Projected Depth Chart
C: Chris Obekpa (So)/God’s Gift Achiuwa (Sr)
F: Jakarr Sampson (So)/Orlando Sanchez (Sr)/Christian Jones (So)
SF: Sir’Dominic Pointer (Jr)/Max Hooper (So)/Marc-Antoine Bourgault (Jr)
SG: D’Angelo Harrison (Jr)/Rysheed Jordan (Fr)/Felix Balamou (So)
PG: Phil Greene (Jr) or Jamal Branch (Jr)

Gone: SF-Amir Garrett (transfer- Cal State-Northridge)

2013-2014 Outlook:
One of the keys for St. John’s is shooting guard D’Angelo Harrison who was suspended late last season due to off-the-court issues.  Harrison is a dangerous scorer though very much a volume shooter who forces way too many shots.  Steve Lavin needs Harrison to mature this year if St. John’s is going to take a step in the right direction.

After sharing the point guard position for last season as well as playing plenty of minutes together in the backcourt, Phil Greene and Jamal Branch will compete for minutes at the one.  Neither guy shoots it exceptionally well from the outside which is a concern since the Red Storm were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country last season.  Freshman Rysheed Jordan should also factor into the equation and is capable of playing either guard position.

Sir’Dominic Pointer is the glue guy in the starting line-up as his versatility and athleticism allow him to be a valuable contributor in multiple aspects of the game.  There is quality depth on the wing with Harvard transfer Max Hooper, Marc-Antoine Bourgault, and Felx Balamou each competing for any leftover minutes.

There is more versatility at forward with reigning Big East Rookie of the Year, Jakarr Sampson.  He is long and athletic and a talented all-around scorer who can play either forward position.  JUCO transfer Orlando Sanchez has finally been cleared to play by the NCAA and is another forward who can do a little bit of everything on the floor.  Christian Jones gives Lavin even more depth up-front which was another weakness last year.

Up-front, Chris Obekpa anchors the middle and is one of the top shot blocking bigs in college basketball.  He doesn’t bring much on the offensive end but Lavin will rely on the 6-9 sophomore to protect the rim defensively and clean up the boards.  God’sgift Achiuwa redshirted last year and adds some physicality off the bench.  He was the primary big man for the Red Storm in 2011-12 and is a more capable low post option than Obekpa.

With their depth, experience, and athleticism, there is a lot to like about this St. John’s team.  They will play at a fast pace and put a lot of pressure on the ball defensively.  If they can knock down outside shots with more consistency, there is plenty of upside for the Red Storm.

Player to Watch: D’Angelo Harrison
His cockiness on the court the past two seasons and disregard for acting like a proper student athlete gave him the reputation of being a “punk” and certainly played into Lavin’s decision to suspend him since he was becoming a distraction to the team.  Maybe that was the wake-up call Harrison needed.  If not, Lavin has added depth and won’t hesitate to put Harrison on the bench or perhaps even kick him off the team if he doesn’t pull it together this year.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/8 vs. Wisconsin (in Sioux Falls, SD)
11/19 vs. Bucknell
11/29 vs. Penn State (Barclays Center Classic)
11/30 vs. Ole Miss/Georgia Tech (Barclays Center Classic)
12/15 vs. Syracuse

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#30 Harvard
#31 UCLA
#32 Iowa
#33 Boise State
#34 Villanova
#35 Oregon
#36 St. Louis
#37 La Salle
#38 San Diego State
#39 Stanford
#40 Arizona State
#41 BYU
#42 Pitt
#43 California
#44 Iowa State
#45 Providence
#46 Cincinnati
#47 UNLV
#48 Purdue
#49 LSU
#50 Illinois
#51 Xavier
#52 Boston College
#53 Ole Miss
#54 Missouri
#55 Washington
#56 Saint Mary’s
#57 Maryland
#58 Butler
#59 Minnesota
#60 Florida Gulf Coast
#61 Akron
#62 Temple
#63 Alabama
#64 Florida State
#65 Arkansas
#66 N.C. State
#67 Kansas State
#68 Davidson
#69 Dayton
#70 Miami FL
#71 SMU
#72 Texas A&M
#73 Long Beach State
#74 UMass
#75 Northwestern
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#78 Oklahoma
#79 Richmond
#80 Manhattan
#81 Belmont
#82 Texas
#83 Houston
#84 Washington State
#85 Iona
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#88 Towson
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#91 Rutgers
#92 Drexel
#93 USC
#94 Charleston
#95 Seton Hall
#96 Vanderbilt
#97 George Mason
#98 Clemson
#99 Penn State
#100 Nebraska
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#104 DePaul
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#107 TCU
#108 Virginia Tech
#109 Georgia
#110 Utah
#111 Auburn

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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