— St. John's BBall (@StJohnsBBall) February 17, 2016
Although the 2015-16 season has been nothing short of nightmarish for St. John’s, head man Chris Mullin will eventually turn out to be a good one.
We knew it would be a tough first year for Mully, having taken over a team in transition – losing four seniors and two other key players from last season’s squad that reached the NCAA Tournament. But seeing it this bad wasn’t part of the agenda.
St John’s started out 7-19 and 0-13 in the Big East until finally winning a conference game after beating DePaul on Wednesday at Carnesecca Arena. That broke a school record 16 straight losses. That’s how bad it’s been.
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Many who look at Mullin’s resume so far will point to a sentiment of “not too good.” Yeah, it’s not good, but those who’ve looked at the team and their games closely come away realizing Mullin’s not as bad as the record shows.
I still believe he will eventually be a good head coach here.
First of all, Mullin, who’s always been a hard worker as a basketball player and strict disciplinarian, instilled that very work ethic to his current players. St. John’s may have lost a lot of games this year, but they haven’t been blown out that many times. In fact, six of their last 13 losses have been by 10 points or less. Both of their losses to No. 6 ranked Xavier were by single-digits and they also played No. 1 ranked Villanova tough, losing by only 10 points on the road.
This shows that St. John’s has been playing hard and competitive.
That’s pretty impressive, considering St. John’s has a new squad with a lot of inexperienced freshmen. The fact that Mully is getting his players to play hard on a nightly basis shows how closely he can bond with the players. That’s definitely not easy to do for a first time head coach, coaching an inexperienced team. While some of the freshmen might have potential, it’s still difficult to coach a squad that’s fairly new to each other.
Mullin may still be learning the Xs and Os, but he is doing a good job motivating and getting his players to consistently play hard. Mullin was a terrific and smart player, so he should quickly learn better on coaching and as he and his players gain more experience the wins should come.
Furthermore, up to this point Mullin has been aggressive in his recruiting process. He may not have landed the top recruits, but that’s asking a lot for a first timer. He has given himself a chance doing that, like nearly getting Check Diallo, before the highly touted freshman decided to go to Kansas instead.
He has lured solid freshmen in Malik Ellison, Frederico Mussini, Yankuba Sima, and Kassoum Yakwe. All of them have shown a little something of what they can provide this year and in years to come. Sima, when healthy, is a good rebounder and shot blocker down low. Mussini, considering he’s played out of position all season, has been pretty solid, shooting the ball and being a playmaker at times. And still to come, is Marcus Lovett, who will be the point guard next season and who should be clearly eligible next year unlike this season.
— St. John's BBall (@StJohnsBBall) February 20, 2016
Mullin also recruited more players next season in guard Shamari Ponds, etc. Next season, the team will be more experienced, deeper and definitely better.
So yeah, this season may be a huge disappointment, but it was expected to be a struggle. The future should be bright in Jamaica, Queens.
The hype during Mullin’s press conference as St. John’s new head coach didn’t happen for nothing and it wasn’t just because the greatest St. John’s player was the new leader. Mullin seemed like he had a plan when he first took over. We knew how aggressive he would be, when he mentioned how recruiting starts immediately after his conference ends and how he knows every high school in the NYC area and that no one has to tell him where.
So far he has been aggressive and he will continue to be with recruiting. With the coaching, yeah, we know he’s learning on the job but he has been a good motivator so far and with his basketball IQ, his coaching should get better.
That being said, that is why Chris Mullin will eventually be a solid college basketball coach for St. John’s. Whether it will be as good as he was as a player, remains to be seen. Don’t be surprised however, if it is.