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St John’s Red Storm: First 10 Games are Must Win

Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

The St. John’s Red Storm are heading into the 2012-13 campaign very young and may be missing some key components come the regular season. God’sgift Achiuwa as well as Felix Balamou might get red-shirted this season and Orlando Sanchez and Marc-Antoine Bourgault might be unavailable early on due to some eligibility issues. Topple all that off with one one of the youngest Red Storm teams to ever get ready to play and head coach Steve Lavin already has his hands full.

Lavin knows this and that’s why early season success is paramount. The Johnnies open up their non-conference schedule set to play 9 of their first 10 games against non-BCS schools.

It’s a tricky game that the St. John’s coaching staff is going to have to balance early on. Working on setting a set rotation, figuring out who’s going to be the second and third option on offense(obviously D’Angelo Harrison is the main guy), and having the team form some chemistry. While doing all of that, because of playing in the difficult Big East, the Red Storm need to come out of that stretch with 8 wins to make a run at the NCAA Tournament.

Defensive stoppers Amir Garrett and Phil Greene will be asked to pick up some of the offensive slack, and if Achiuwa isn’t playing, have to play multiple positions on the floor. Thankfully the Red Storm do have “Super Freshman” JaKarr Sampson whose offensive game seems to be mid-range jumpers but he also has the ability to grab rebounds. Those 3 players are definitely just behind the sharpshooter Harrison as far as importance to the teams success.

The Red Storm finish their stretch of “cupcake” games against  St. Francis (NY) Terriers(at the new fancy Barclays Center) December 15th.

Imagine the momentum a young team can have if they come into that game 9-0 and playing in front of a packed house in a brand new arena. It could be just the thing that helps a really young team build confidence going into conference play. On the other hand, if the Red Storm get off to a shaky start, the game at the Barclays could be a public nail in the coffin.

St. John’s is going to be young, have a never-ending slew of rotations, and erratic play seems certain. The key to the season lays in those first 10 games. After that they go knee deep in conference play, and with a young team having early success, the sky will be the limit.

I don’t want to fathom the other scenario.

Joe covers the Big East for Rant Sports. You can follow him on the Twitter machine @JosephNardone

 

 

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NCAA Tournament Profile: St. John's Red Storm

Record: 21-11

RPI: 37

BPI: 51

Conference: Big East Conference

How They Qualified: At-Large Berth

Region: No. 9 seed in South

 

The St. John’s Red Storm have been a tough puzzle to solve ever since Steve Lavin took over as head coach. Lavin has recruited like a boss, but his teams simply have not met expectations. Well, his team didn’t blow us all away this year, but it will be partaking in the 2015 NCAA tournament. It is all about those baby steps.

This is the Red Storm’s first appearance since 2011. Needless to say, the team was well overdue.

 

What You Need to Know:

Leading Scorer: D’Angelo Harrison (17.5 PPG)

Leading Rebounder: Sir’Dominic Pointer (7.6 RPG)

Leading Passer: Rysheed Jordan (3.1 APG)

Bad Losses: DePaul, Creighton, Seton Hall

Good Wins: Providence (twice), Xavier (twice), Syracuse, Georgetown

 

If everything comes together, St. John’s could be one of the biggest surprises of the tournament. That may be asking for a lot, though. This team did lose 11 times on the season.

If you are looking for a player who can score at will, look no further than D’Angelo Harrison. Harrison is a senior, so you better believe he will be playing every game like it is his last because … well, every game could realistically be his last. Fun fact: Harrison has averaged over 16 points per game all four years at St. John’s — he is the real deal, folks.

St. John’s wasn’t the most consistent team in the country, so it will be interesting to see which Red Storm team shows up — the one that lost three in a row at one point, or the one that started the season off with an 11-1 record.

The St. John’s Red Storm are dancing!

Trevor Lowry is a Content Associate at RantSports.com. If you’re a tweeter feel free to follow him @TheTrevorLowry, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

Will this finally be the year that Steve Lavin coaches his St. John's Red Storm on a deep run? Whether the case, they enter the dance with some talent.

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