So far, it’s been an inconsistent season for the St. John’s men’s basketball squad. They need to gain more consistency to be a true force in the Big East.
The St. John’s Red Storm are clearly a better team this season than what they were last year. They have already exceeded last season’s win total (8) with nine so far.
They’ve had some impressive wins such as the 33 point blowout win over their old Big East foe in Syracuse at the Carrier Dome and followed that up with an upset victory over then No. 13 ranked Butler to kick off Big East play.
However, they’ve had some bad losses and sloppy, inconsistent play during this season especially early in the year.
Towards the end of November, they lost back to back home games to Old Dominion and Delaware State. They lost a gut-wrenching one-point loss to local rival LIU Brooklyn at the Barclays Center and also got blown out by 16 points to Peen State at Madison Square Garden.
As far as their play goes, there’s been times when St. John’s has shown their improved talent but there have been moments when they have shown their inexperience too.
Basically, we don’t know what we’re going to see from them when they hit the court. However, what they are as a team is pretty clear.
They are a perimeter oriented team which is pretty ironic considering how they’ve rarely fielded a great perimeter shooting team in their storied history. But that’s what they are now and it’s not too hard to notice why.
They have one of the best starting frontcourts in the game led by the two freshman sensations in LoVett and Ponds. Both of them are good three point shooters who can also penetrate and drive to the lane and keep defenses honest. When they are both on, St. John’s always has a chance to win. In addition, they also have sophomore Frederico Mussini who can light it up from downtown as well.
While their outside play has been sensational, the same cannot be said of their inside play. St. John’s has been lacking in inside presence especially after Yankuba Sima transferred early on this month. Kassoum Yakwe and Tariq Owens are their best inside threats but none of them that gifted offensively although Owens is an excellent shot blocker.
They have struggled to rebound all season. Over their last four games, they’ve been outrebounded by 56. Their frontcourt is sorely lacking in depth and it didn’t help when 2017 recruit big man Zach Brown was released from the school following his latest issue with the law.
So this team has some flaws but it has their strengths too. They are now 9-12 and 3-5 in the Big East. In order for them to be a near tournament team, St. John’s has to keep up their excellent backcourt play and not be sloppy with the basketball and commit turnovers which have been a big reason for their inconsistent stretch.
There’s a little more than a month left in the regular season and most of St. John’s remaining opponents are in the Big East so them being more consistent, to finish strong, will definitely be big for them and the program as it continues to build it’s way back to respectability.