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

st. john's cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 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.

A lack of depth really left the St. John’s Red Storm with little chance of being a factor in the Big East last season.  With Steve Lavin healthy and back on the bench, and improved depth up and down the roster, St. John’s will be a bigger factor this season.

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Steve Lavin Missing Games, but Progressing in Fight Against Cancer

steve lavin st. john's

It’s been a rough start to the season for St. John’s college basketball. They’re 4-3 and dropped their first two games against ranked teams. Then also fell to Northeastern last night. Head Coach Steve Lavin was absent for that game, as he continues his treatments in the fight against prostate cancer.

He also missed the opening win over William & Mary, but returned for the Red Storm‘s game two nights later against Lehigh, and also coached the next three.

Lavin underwent prostate cancer surgery October 6th, and left the team for more than a month. The school released a statement from Coach Lav with an update on his health:

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St. John’s Coach Steve Lavin Undergoes Prostrate Surgery Tomorrow

Steve Lavin St. John's

St. John’s college basketball coach Steve Lavin will undergo surgery Thursday at the prestigious Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York to treat his prostate cancer. Lavin is expected to resume his coaching responsibilities with the Red Storm after a short recovery period.

“The advantage of early detection is that we were afforded the time to research all options,” said Lavin, 47, who has been recruiting this week at Bridgton (Maine) Academy and Brewster (N.H.) Academy.

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

st. john's cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

The fact that Steve Lavin and the St. John’s Red Storm were bringing in one of the top recruiting classes in the country was supposed to somewhat offset the loss of all but one player from last year’s senior dominant team.  However, with the NCAA’s recent decision that three members of that highly touted 2011 recruiting class, Norvell Pelle, JaKarr Sampson, and Amir Garrett have been ruled ineligible, it is a HUGE hit for St. John’s hopes this season.

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St. John’s Coach Steve Lavin Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer

Steve Lavin St. John's

The leader of the St. John’s college basketball program, Steve Lavin,  says he has prostate cancer. The 46-year-old coach released a statement Friday saying the diagnosis came in September, but he was told that he could delay his treatment for the disease until after the season was completed.

Treatment will commence in the coming weeks and it should not affect his coaching, or take time away from the sidelines. The former UCLA coach was hired by St. John’s in April after seven years as an analyst at ESPN.

By Paul M. Banks

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College Hoops 101 (1/31/11)

byu basketball cheerleader

If you are unfamiliar with College Hoops 101, it is a weekly feature here at The Sports Bank that runs every Monday (a double edition this week as I had to skip last week’s) and breaks down everything you need to know going on in the world of college basketball.  I will look back at the previous week and peak ahead to some of the key match-ups in the next seven days. (Click here if you missed my most recent Bracketology.)

By: David Kay

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College Hoops 101 (1/4/11)

muscle milk chick

If you are unfamiliar with College Hoops 101, it is a weekly feature here at The Sports Bank that runs every Monday (Tuesday this week… sorry for the delay, blame the Rose Bowl.) and breaks down everything you need to know going on in the world of college basketball.  I will look back at the previous week and peak ahead to some of the key match-ups in the next seven days.  Check out my latest Big East power rankings if you missed them.
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Oliver Purnell Takes DePaul Job

by Peter Christian

Oliver Purnell will cast aside his orange blazer and don something much more muted as the new head coach of the DePaul Blue Demons basketball team. The former Clemson coach was announced as the DePaul chief this morning and it came a bit as a surprise to those who have followed the DePaul situation closely.

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St. John’s Nation has Grassroots Support for hiring Lavin

Steve Lavin with wife Mary

By Paul M. Banks

OK, so maybe the St. John’s fanbase isn’t really a nation these days, more of a microstate, or at best a breakaway republic in the realpolitik of college basketball. However, the Johnnies were a glorious program once, and they’re intensively seeking to be once again. Check out this comment I received on my previous article highlighting the chances of DePaul hiring ESPN’s Steve Lavin as their next coach.

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BREAKING: Ben Howland Headlines List of DePaul Coaching Candidates

ben howland

By Paul M. Banks

ESPN.com Insider listed the current strongest candidates for the open DePaul job. But they dropped the ball on this one. Rumors are UCLA’s Ben Howland is now the front-runner, and the large, Chicago Catholic school has thrown a very expensive multi-year offer at him. More from Bruins Nation.

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DePaul Courting ESPN’s Lavin as new Head Coach?

steve lavin coach

By Paul M. Banks

DePaul needs a splash hire to revive their dormant program; and ESPN’s Steve Lavin could be it. The Blue Demons need someone to come in and convince local talent to stay home and start something, and I’m not convinced SIU’s Chris Lowery or Jazz Assistant (and former Blue Demon) Tyrone Corbin is that someone.

Then I saw this on the Twitter account of CBS’ Seth Davis yesterday:

“Some dish on DePaul job: Steve Lavin and Craig Robinson are interested. So is Isiah Thomas, but admin cool to him. Sleeper is Tony Barbee. 3:17 AM Mar 1st via TweetDeck

Lavin declined to comment on this situation.

Thus far, Lavin’s “World Wide Leader” star power makes him the most interesting name in the job mix. Here are the pros and cons:

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Illini-Badgers Press Row Exchange

By Paul M. Banks and David K.

(PMB) I can’t wait to hear Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan get angry and go off on somebody in post-game. Is it me or does Illinois coach Bruce Weber sound like the squeaky voice teen from The Simpsons?

(DK) If the Badgers drop their 7th straight, I’m setting the odds of a Bo Blow-up at 3-2.  If I break-out into laughter during Weber’s post-game, it will be because of the Paul M. Banks impression of Weber, complete with the dead-on squeaky voice.

(PMB) Thanks man, I only lampoon those I love. The Badgers’ style of play is the reason people around the country think Big Ten basketball is slow-paced with final scores in the 50s for every game. To their credit, they do use “stallball” to reach the conference tourney finals pretty much every year.

(DK) Yeah, except this year, they can’t hit open shots which will land them a first round home game in the NIT- apparently both an invitational and tournament…???  By the way, Badgers are favored by four somehow.

(PMB) The oddsmakers in Vegas must be tripping on their own desert peyote. (With the tie-dyed “Grateful Red” student section right below, I had to make a psychedelic drug reference) What exactly is the difference between an invitational and tournament?

(DK) No idea… Your boy Steve Lavin is doing the game with Brent Musberger for ESPN without Erin Andrews. (That’s just a good excuse for you to put up an EA pic)  I’m really glad I’m not watching this game on the tube because then I would have to hear for the 57th time this season how “Dr.” Chester Frazier wants to be a coach after he’s done playing hoops.

(PMB) Well “Dr. Frazier” will have to do something after all the years he spent studying in medical school. There’s always a good reason to post an Erin Andrews picture, and we never need an excuse to mention my BFF Lav. I can’t believe we haven’t made a joke about Trent Meacham yet, the worst good player (or best awful player) in Big Ten history. But did you know he’s only committed four turnovers in 267 minutes of conference play?

(DK) Jason Bohannon has hit three 3’s already.  YOU’VE GOT TO GET A HAND UP ON BOHANNON!!!  Trent Meacham, not so much… just 4 of 25 in his last six games since knocking down 7 against Indiana.  Although I’m pretty sure I could drop 7 triples on the Hoosiers this year.  Badgers up 10… ruh roh!

(PMB) Yeah I’ve lost Illinois swagger here. Meacham’s great!….against teams that play no defense. I would make fun of Marcus Landry’s Kareem style goggles, but right now my team has their own issues.

(DK) You gotta love the rec-specs.  J-Bo just hit his fifth three of the first half, partially because Demetri McCamey is excelling at his typical half-hearted defensive effort (or lack thereof).  If Cames tried as hard on defense as he does at chucking up threes, he could actually be a good player.  I hope you get to hear Bo refer to someone as playing “like a man” tonight.

(PMB) Who are Bo’s “men,” the big slow white outside shooters (Mike Wilkinson, Andy Kowske, Brian Butch, Joe Krabbenhoft et al) that he LOVES to recruit?

(DK) Don’t forget about Greg Stiemsma.  Looks like the Badgers are going to get one in the “left hand column.”  (That’s another Bo-ism.)

(PMB) Illinois shooting 34% from the field and 11% from three will do that. I’m sure Weber will repeat the most tired of all sports clichés “don’t get too low after the losses, or too high after the wins, keep things even.” You were right about Mike Davis living and dying by the baseline jumper!

(DK) Don’t doubt my scouting reports.  That’s what happens when I’ve watched 160 college hoops games already this season.  I’ve been disappointed in what Alex Legion has, or actually has not contributed to the Illini this season.  I thought he would be more of an impact scorer, but still seems a little lost on the floor too often.

(PMB) If Illinois’ defense continues to be this awful, then the media covering Illinois might have to start talking about Michael Jordan’s kid playing at UI again- even though he never plays more than 10 minutes a game. Anybody here with NBA Draft potential? Could any underclassmen show up in a mock draft down the line?

(DK) I think Leuer has the most pro potential.  He’s 6-10, can shoot from the outside, put the ball on the floor, and has a nice set of moves on the block.  He will need to get stronger- which he definitely already has over his year and a half at Wisconsin.

McCamey and Davis are potential second round picks if they continue to develop.  Illini are hanging around.  Hey, did you hear Frazier wants to be a coach after he’s done playing?

(PMB) Did you hear that Michael Jordan’s son plays at UI? That Alex Legion de-commited from Michigan twice before transferring to Kentucky and then to Illinois?

(DK) So Legion pulled an Eric Gordon huh? (Insert Basketball Judas reference)  Illinois has the same problem the Badgers have had as of late.  If they are not hitting outside shots, they really don’t have anyone who can break you down off-the-dribble and attack the hoop.

(PMB) They lack a real go-to-guy; someone who can carry them, and now teams have figured out how to guard the Illini.

(DK) Yeah, if McCamey isn’t on fire, the Illini are very beatable.  Mike Tisdale just fouled out and was a complete non-factor tonight.  That doesn’t help Illinois either.

(PMB) Like you might have heard once or twice or three-thousand times, Tisdale is on a 6,000 calorie a day diet. Sometimes when I look around in a room full of sports writers, I think they share his dining habits. Speaking of unsightly, that’s how I feel about the Illini deficit. Given that the team you cover is dominating tonight, I’ll let you have the last word.

(DK) First of all, the Badgers aren’t “my” team.  Since I graduated from Marquette, they will always have my heart.  I have grown to appreciate and respect the Badgers, but will NEVER refer to them as “my” team.  Badgers win 63-50.  That’s three straight lackluster performances from YOUR boys.  Time to get a little worried…