St. John's
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

St. John’s center Tariq Owens was granted his release from the program Wednesday, but it doesn’t mean his time with the Red Storm is over yet.

The St. John’s Red Storm could be on the verge of losing a key piece of their frontcourt heading into 2018-19. On Tuesday, Evan Daniels of FS1 and 24/7 Sports tweeted that forward Tariq Owens was granted his release from his scholarship.

But that it doesn’t mean St. John’s is out of the mix:

Zach Braziller of the New York Post added that there aren’t many restrictions on his release:

This past season, Owens averaged 8.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, but the big strength of his game was his shot-blocking ability at the rim. He was eighth in the country in total blocks (94) and 11th in blocks per game (2.85).

Back on March 15, Owens’ father put together a great post on Twitter where he talked about the decision that his son made to seek other opportunities as a graduate transfer:

After one season at Tennessee, Owens made the decision to transfer to Queens and join the Red Storm. While his size at 6-foot-11 allowed him to be a force down low, he also was working more on his jump shot this year. While his field goal percentage was the same as 2016-17 (50.4 percent), he attempted 37 three-pointers and made 12 of them (32 percent).

While the jump shot was improving, Owens played a key part in getting alley-oop passes from Shamorie Ponds and Justin Simon. Plus, he was a key component whenever the Red Storm tried to play pick-and-roll with one of those two guards.

As we take a closer look at next year’s roster, St. John’s already has a few big men committed in center Josh Roberts and forward Marcellus Earlington. Plus, Sedee Keita, a transfer from South Carolina, will be eligible to play at Carnesecca Arena next year.

With that being said, Owens would likely be the starter if he decided to stay. He took over as the starter this year after Marcus LoVett went out and he did a good job at the center position.

However, he should not be blamed by fans for making the decision to do what is best for him and for his professional career. Since he is from Maryland, a decision to go play with the Terps, as Daniels pointed out, would be a good thing for him to stay close to home and play in the Big Ten.

If Owens does decide to leave, it would be a big loss for the program because they would have to find another player to be the primary rim protector on defense. But, at the same time, it is important that Owens finds a team where he can do what is best for him.

He gave his all in the two years that he played for the Red Storm. That should be respected, no matter where he winds up next season.

I graduated from St. John's University with a degree in sports management. I previously wrote about the Johnnies at Rumble In the Garden.