st. john's mike anderson
Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

St. John’s basketball is about to enter a promising year, but a lawsuit with allegations against Mike Anderson could loom large.

According to a lawsuit obtained by Elite Sports NY, former St. John’s assistant coach Steve DeMeo is suing the school and men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson for discrimination and wrongful termination. Kevin Sweeney of SI Now was the first to report this news.

Mr. DeMeo is represented by David E. Gottlieb and Renan F. Varghese of Wigdor LLP. They released the following statement to Elite Sports NY:

“No one is above the law, and Division I basketball schools and their head coaches are no exception. St. John’s and Mr. Anderson’s decision to terminate Mr. DeMeo was a flagrant abuse of power and is deplorable conduct for a person expected to be a role model to student athletes. We look forward to holding St. John’s and Mr. Anderson fully accountable.”

According to the lawsuit, Anderson fired DeMeo in retaliation for the assistant coach dealing with a heart condition. Rather than accommodating DeMeo’s health concerns, St. John’s and Anderson chose to terminate DeMeo.

In addition to the health concerns, this lawsuit alleges that the team almost quit on Anderson at multiple points in the season. Anderson’s fraught relationship with junior college transfer Isaih Moore is at the heart of the allegations of locker-room issues. Moore transferred to Southern Miss in the offseason.

Anderson was named Big East Coach of the Year last season, but this lawsuit alleges that DeMeo played a significant role in keeping the team unified during a turbulent season.

This St. John’s roster is seeing a ton of turnover from last year to the 2021-22 season, but that is commonplace in college basketball these days.

These bombshell allegations could represent a massive change in the narrative. Anderson is recruiting the New York City area as well as anyone could have imagined and his Johnnies are poised to fight for an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time in his tenure.

From the outside looking in, Anderson is slowly building the program towards long-term, sustained success. However, these allegations from DeMeo could cast a shadow over Queens.

Elite Sports NY has reached out to St. John’s regarding these allegations. More to come on this developing story.