The St. John’s Red Storm barely won their opening game this season but it did help make a decision for head coach Steve Lavin much easier. Thanks to a record setting performance by Chris Obekpa, school-record 8 blocked shots, the decision to redshirt God’s Gift Achiuwa as simple as pie.
The loss of Achiuwa would normally be big news, considering the Johnnies weren’t expected to be deep with big men, but with the emergence of Obekpa seeming ready to contribute in a big way, the redshirting of Achiuwa feels flat and not newsworthiness. Although plenty of that will hinge on Obekpa’s play for the rest of the season.
Lavin also told the media after the game(reported by Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv) that he does not plan on designating Felix Balamou for a redshirt. Balamou is a shooting guard who will not only add depth but much needed shooting. Outside the proven D’Angelo Harrison, no other St. John’s player has a successful collegiate track record of hitting mid to long range jump shots.
In the Red Storm opener Lavin had only 7 St. John’s players see action. Harrison came off the bench(violation of team rules) and provided the spark the Johnnies needed for victory. Adding a player to the rotation will add depth not only for a singular game but for the whole season.
St. John’s, as currently constructed, is packed with great athletes but in desperate need of some shooters. The addition of Balamou far out weighs the loss of Achiuwa.
Joe covers the Big East for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone