2006-07 NYC Metro Preview: St John's
3. St. John’s Red Storm
2005-06 Record: 12-15 (5-11 Big East)
Last season’s final ranking (NY Metro area poll): 9th
Head Coach: Norm Roberts (3rd year @ SJU (21-33), 7th year overall)
Leading Returnees: Points (Lamont Hamilton-12.6 ppg); Rebounds (Hamilton-7.6 rpg); Assists (Eugene Lawrence-4.9 apg)
Returning Starters: 5 (G Eugene Lawrence (Jr. 6’1, 217), G Daryll Hill (Sr. 6’0, 168), F Anthony Mason, Jr. (So. 6’7, 203), F Aaron Spears (Sr. 6’10, 256), F Lamont Hamilton (Sr. 6’10, 253)
Key Losses: G Cedric Jackson, F Phil Missere
After missing the Big East Tournament in each of the past two seasons, the Red Storm look to make a postseason appearance on their home court. With the amount of talent in Jamaica Queens that should not be a concern for Norm Roberts this year. In the backcourt, Eugene Lawrence returns at the point and will be joined by sidekick Daryll Hill, who has recovered from a knee injury that limited him to sixteen games last year. Two years ago Hill averaged 20.7 points per game only to see the knee issue drop his average to 12.3 per game. More good news for Coach Roberts has to be that he doesn’t have to lean on Hill for offensive production.
Junior college transfer Avery Patterson is a capable shooter who will spell Hill from time to time, and may also share the floor with the senior at times. Ricky Torres, who came off the bench last season, will have the same role. But he will have to hold off freshman Larry Wright if he wants to see the same amount of playing time. And look for freshman Derwin Kitchen to give Lawrence a breather at the point from time to time.
The frontcourt is in good shape as well, with the return of starters Anthony Mason, Jr., Aaron Spears and Lamont Hamilton. Hamilton, just named to the preseason All-Big East First Team, led the Red Storm in both points and rebounds last season. And with other schools in the Big East being deep in the paint, even more will be asked of Hamilton and his mates. Mason, Jr., the son of former New York Knick Anthony Mason, is an athletic swingman that can get to the basket and hit the outside jumper. And Spears will be more of an “enforcer”, valued more for his rebounding and defense than for his scoring ability.
Minutes behind the three starters will be up for grabs, with the main competitors being sophomore Tomas Jasiulionis and freshmen Qa’rraan Calhoun and Rob Thomas. Although he only averaged 1.1 points per game last season, Jasiulionis showed himself to be an active body that didn’t lack in the effort department. The two incoming freshmen (Calhoun and Thomas) both had solid seasons last year at the prep level. While talent returns on the frontline, extended spells of foul trouble could cause the Red Storm problems.
Schedule at a Glance
St. John’s opens the season in the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic, facing North Florida in the opener November 10th. Also taking part in the regional at Carnesecca Arena are Navy and Loyola (MD). The following night will match up the winners and losers, with the winner heading to Madison Square Garden for the semifinals and finals the following week. Some other teams taking part in the tournament are Maryland, Michigan St. and Texas.
St. John’s will only leave home once during non-conference play, and that’s when they visit Niagara December 9th. Other non-conference foes include Illinois State, LIU and Columbia. 2006 closes with the Aeropostale Holiday Festival, with St. John’s facing Boston University. Also taking part in the Holiday Festival are Hofstra and St. Joseph’s. St. John’s also has a home game against Duke on February 25th.
Big East play opens January 3rd when the Red Storm host DePaul, one of three teams the Red Storm will play twice. The other repeat opponents are Syracuse and Providence. St. John’s will not play Villanova or Marquette. The toughest stretch for the Red Storm may be back-to-back games at Pittsburgh and home to Georgetown, the two favorites in the Big East. And after the Red Storm’s upset of a ranked Panther team last season, look for Pittsburgh to have plenty of motivation January 27th. Big East play ends on March 4th when St. John’s hosts Providence. Only the top twelve teams qualify for the Big East Tournament, so the Red Storm need to avoid long cold streaks.
Interesting Note: St. John’s went 2-8 on the road last season.
2005-06 Team Statistics
+ Points per game: 60.0 - Points per game allowed: 60.4 - Scoring Margin: - 0.4
+ Rebounds per game: 38.1 - Opp. Rebounds per game: 31.2 - Rebounding Margin: + 6.9
+ Assists per game: 13.0 - Turnovers per game: 16.1 - Assist-to-Turnover Ratio: 0.8:1
+ Field Goal Percentage: 41.4% - FG Percentage Defense: 39.4%
+ 3-Point Percentage: 26.6% - 3-Point Percentage Def.: 32.2%
+ Free Throw Percentage: 65.7%
+ Longest winning streak: 3-twice (Maryland-Eastern Shore, St. Francis-NY, Niagara) November 19th-26th; (@ South Florida, Louisville, Pittsburgh) January 14th-21st
+ Longest losing streak: 6 (@ Connecticut, West Virginia, @ Marquette, @ Providence, @ Georgetown, Syracuse) January 25th-February 12th
+ St. John’s went 2-9 in their last eleven games, which coincides with the end of guard Daryll Hill’s season.