With Mustapha Heron transferring from Auburn, the St. John’s Red Storm would be one of the favorites in the Big East if Heron chose to go to Queens.
It is not often that a program can land a top of the line player in June or July, but the St. John’s Red Storm might have that opportunity for the 2018-19 season.
On Tuesday, Auburn guard Mustapha Heron announced he was withdrawing his name from the NBA Draft and transferring from the Tigers.
According to Adam Zagoria from ZagsBlog, Heron is going to apply for a hardship waiver so that he would be eligible to play for a team this upcoming season. Here is the reason why he is applying for that waiver according to his father, Bryan:
“What people don’t know is Mustapha’s mom has been sick for a year,” Bryan Heron said Tuesday by phone. “Being home, he wants to get closer to his mom. He knew he had to go back to school. The last month he’s been here and he wants to be close to his mom, where she can see him play.”
With Heron’s home being in Connecticut, that puts St. John’s right back in the mix to land him for this season. Gary Parrish of CBS Sports tweeted on Tuesday that the Red Storm are one of two teams in the lead to land him along with UCONN and new head coach Dan Hurley:
Auburn’s leading scorer, Mustapha Heron, is transferring. I’m told he’s likely to get a hardship waiver to play immediately — and that UConn and St. John’s are considered the leaders to enroll him.
— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) May 29, 2018
Last season, in Auburn’s run to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament, Heron averaged 16.4 points per game (led the team). Plus, he averaged 5.3 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. He scored 20 or more points eight different times, including 31 against Winthrop on November 24.
If there is one weak spot in Heron’s game compared to 2015-16, it was his three-point shooting. While the six-foot-five guard shot about 44 percent from the floor (43.9), he shot only 33.1 percent from downtown. If he can bring that perimeter shooting percentage back up, he could excel in the Big East.
With that being said, if St. John’s was able to get Heron to go to Queens, he would provide more instant offense for a team that needed a second scoring threat last year in the worst way to pair with Shamorie Ponds.
Today, St. John’s finally got their answer to whether or not Ponds would be coming back to school. According to Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports, Ponds is going to come back to the Red Storm this season:
Shamorie Ponds will return to St. John's next season, per his father. Entered 2018 NBA Draft without an agent. #SJUBB
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 29, 2018
With Ponds now in the fold, the addition of Heron would allow Justin Simon to be a third guard on the floor to distribute the ball and not have to worry about being a primary scoring option.
Since Tariq Owens is no longer with St. John’s (now at Texas Tech), Chris Mullin and his coaching staff are going to rely heavily on their backcourt this coming season. If they were able to land Heron, they would have two primary scorers that can take the ball to the rim and take charge of the pick-and-roll offense.
With all of the departures in the Big East such as Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova), Khyri Thomas (Creighton), and Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), St. John’s could take another step forward in the Big East if Ponds stays and Heron comes.