Big East Hoops

Archive for the 'St. John’s' category

The Rest…..

November 17, 2008 12:48 am by Coach O

The final six teams will not challenge for the title this year but they will pull some upsets during the season and keep the Big East from top to bottom as the toughest league in the USA.

Providence

Frontcourt – Geoff McDermott led the Friars last year in rebounding. That is not surprising. What is surprising is that he also averaged 4.9 assists a game. It’s rare for a big man to be such a good passer. McDermott will team with Randall Hanke and Jonathan Kale to form the PC frontcourt. Not a dominating cast of big men and at times McDermott will slide into the ’3′ position leaving Hanke and Kale down low. The strong frontcourts of the top teams should not have much of a problem with this group. Grade C

Backcourt – Point guard Sharaud Curry is back after missing most of last year. That should help cure the inconsistency that PC showed last year. Curry will have Weyinmi Efejuku and Brian McKenzie back as well as Jeff Xavier, who led the Friars in scoring last season. The backcourt will be improved but new coach Davis has to keep an eye on Efejuku who has games where he is totally out of control and hurts the team. Grade – B-

Coach – Keno Davis was named AP coach of the year at Drake last season. He has his work cut out for him in Providence. He has some talent, but not enough to challenge the top 5 teams. He is a solid coach who will be challenged to keep PC in the top ten of the Big East. Grade – B-

OVERALL - The Friars have the ability to play with the elite in the conference, but show too much inconsistency. Curry should be a settling influence and McDermott is a player. The Frairs will probably settle in from the 9-11 slot in the final standings. Grade – C-

Seton Hall

Frontcourt – Brian Laing will be sorely missed by the Pirates this year. The frontcourt is left with only John Garcia and Mike Davis as experienced players. Robert Mitchell, a transfer from Duquesne may fit into Laing’s open spot. Mitchell averaged over 16 ppg as a freshman. Grade D

Backcourt – Again, Jerome Nutter will be missed although the Hall has a little more here to turn to than down low. Eugene Harvey is a dependable player with two years experience and Jeremy Hazell took the league by storm last year with his outstanding long range shooting. Paul Gause is a defensive specialist and will fill the other guard position. Gause however doesn’t give the Pirates much in the way of scoring. Keep an eye on Frosh Jordan Theodore who should push for playing time. Grade – C+

Coaching – Bobby Gonzalez is a bundle of nervous energy. He will get a lot out of the players he has. But you can only do so much. His big men can’t play with the frontlines of other teams in the BE. But one can’t fault Gonzalez for trying. Grade – C+

OVERALL – Seton Hall will pull an upset or two along the way. They will have a night where Hazell can’t miss and stun one of the big boys. But this will not be the norm. The Hall wil struggle to win consistently in the league. Grade – C-

Rutgers

Frontcourt – JR Inman has been here forever it seems. And Fred Hill has recruited wisely in bringing in Greg Echenique (6-9 Fr. ) to join with Hamady Ndiaye down low. The Scarlet Knights will be stronger in the frontcourt but still a year away from being on a par with the leaders. Grade C+

Backcourt – Freshman Mike Rosario may be the star the Knights need to team with Inman. Corey Chandler and Mike Coburn were instant stars for RU. And Anthony Farmer lends experience in the backcourt. Jaron Griffin will return as a starter at the small forward position. The perimeter will be a strong point this year but the lack of a true point guard will continue to be a hurdle for the Knights. Grade – B-

Coaching – Fred Hill has done a wonderful job recruiting. He is slowly filling the needs for Rutgers. He is seeing the dividends of building a program while not having it be so obvious in the win column. Hill needs a few more years to have a roster with the depth of the Big east elite teams. Grade – B

OVERALL – The Scarlet Knights will be better than their 3-15 season of last year. But the climb is hard and the league is not forgiving. A 12-14 finish is to be expected. Grade – D+

DePaul

Frontcourt – Mac Koshwal made a big impression on the opponents he faced last year. His 10.7 ppg and 8.4 rpg were far and above his expectations. Matija Poscic will join Koshwal down low. kene Obi a 7-2 redshirt will push for playing time with Poscic. The Demons don’t really stack up with others in the Big East in the frontcourt. Grade – C-

Backcourt – Jabari Currie is steady at the point and Will Walker returns as 2 guard. But the main man on the perimeter is Dar Tucker. Tucker can rotate at the 2 or 3 position and provide a spark at either. He will be the player DePaul looks to for scoring. Grade – C

Coaching – Jerry Wainwright is a funny man. He will need his sense of humor to get through another tough Big East season. He will surely miss not seeing Draelon Burns out on the floor this year. But DePaul’s top players are young, and Wainwright along with Blue Demon fans have to be patient for a year or two. Grade C-

OVERALL – DePaul will fight for 12th or 13th place. Grade- D+

St. John’s

Frontcourt – Justin Burrell is a standout in the frontcourt. But the men down low with him are Tomas Jasiulionis (2.0ppg, 1.8rpg) and Dele Coker (1.7ppg, 2.4rpg). That is not nearly enough in the Big East. If Burrell can improve on his nearly 11 points a game, the Red Storm still will fall drastically short down low. Grade – D

Backcourt – The prospect for the perimeter is much brighter. Anthony Mason Jr. will give coach Roberts much more than he did last year when he missed 8 games due to injury. D.J. Kennedy has experience and averaged almost 8 points in his freshman year. Malik Boothe is a competent point guard at 5’9″ and Quincy Roberts is there to spell all three. Grade – C+

Coaching – Norm Roberts has won 42% of his games in 4 years for the Johnnies. In league play his percentage drops to 30%. Not nearly good enough to suggest a huge improvement this year. Grade – C-

OVERALL – Not enough for much improvement. Mason will lead along with Burrell, but will the rest help out enough to better the 5 league wins of a year ago. Don’t think so. The Johnnies will fight to keep out of the basement of the league. Grade – D

South Florida

Frontcourt – Stan Heath must start by finding a replcement for Kentrell Gransberry. He was a force that will be missed for USF. Gransberry leaves a void of 16 ppg and 11 rpg. Mobolaji Ajayi averaged 3.9ppg and 2.9rpg last year. Aris Williams only saw limited action last year. The real hope rests with Gus Gilchrist, a freshman transfer from Maryland. Although he never played with the Terps, the NCAA has not ruled on whether he must sit out this year as a transfer player. Alex Rivas-Sanchez is a Juco transfer who might get some minutes. Grade – D-

Backcourt – Dominique Jones was a freshman sensation last year. Jesus Verdejo can score at an 11 ppg pace and Chris Howard lends his 8.4ppg and his senior experience. Mike Mercer is a transfer player from Georgia. Mercer averaged 12.2ppg in two seasons for the Bulldogs. The perimeter looks to be in pretty good shape for the Bulls. Grade – C+

Coaching – Heath inherited a pretty big task when he arrived at USF last year. He did make some strides as the Bulls improved and gave some of the top teams a lot of trouble. It remains to be seen if Heath can continue the upward climb for USF. Grade – C

OVERALL – The Bulls will keep up with almost everyone from the outside. It’s just a matter of how badly they will fare inside that will tell whether they can make it out of the 15-16 place slot that looks correct right now. Grade – D-

 

 

PREVIEW – St. John’s (16-15, 7-9)

October 15, 2007 10:30 pm by Coach O

St. John’s lost three starters from a team that went 7-9 last year. Anthony Mason and Eugene Lawrence are the only returning starters and they combined for 19 points a game. This looks like a team in trouble this year.

Frontcourt – Anthony Mason (11.9ppg, 5.9rpg) comes back at power forward for the Red Storm. After that there is little. Tomas Jasiulionis (2.9ppg, 1.9rpg) should be the starter at center. Finding a replacement for Lamont Hamilton will not be easy. His 13 points and seven rebounds a game will be missed. Freshmen Justin Burrell (6-8), Dele Coker (6-10), and Sean Evans (6-8) will have to step up right away. GRADE – C-

Backcourt – Eugene Lawrence (7.2ppg, 5.6apg) is the lone returner in the backcourt. He led the BE in assists but the Storm needs points. Larry Wright (4.0ppg, 1.1rpg) will inherit the SG position. Rob Thomas, who missed all of last year might fit in at SF. Malik Boothe (5-9) will push for playing time in the backcourt. Both Thomas and Boothe are freshmen. D.J. Kennedy, another frosh, might move into the rotation at SG or SF. Mike Cavataio and Paris Horne are also freshmen backups. GRADE – C-

Depth – As already mentioned, the Red Storm have a lot of freshman talent but none of it is proven. As seen at UConn last year, even outstanding freshmen have to earn their Big East stripes. Although the bench looks to have some potential, seasoned veterans will be coming off benches of their opponents. GRADE – D+

Outlook – The Red Storm will struggle to make the tourney in New York in March. If the freshmen come through they might equal their 7-9 record of last year, but that seems a bit lofty. Norm Roberts will have to do the coaching job of a lifetime to approach last year’s success. GRADE – C-