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Off the Bench, D’Angelo Harrison Leads St. John’s From Behind

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Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

After leading St. John’s in scoring as a freshman, D’Angelo Harrison had high hopes heading into the 2012-13 season. A season where his head coach should be healthy and very present, Harrison knew he’d be asked to take on a leadership role in his second season in Jamaica, Queens, and his game was good enough to make him the best player on an up-and-coming Big East team.

In sports, actions tend to speak louder than words, and unspecified behavioral transgressions led to Harrison beginning the season in Steve Lavin’s doghouse. He came off of the bench in the team’s exhibition opener at home against Division II Sonoma State, and sat for the duration of their final exhibition game against D-III Concordia, which led to him being told he’d be starting the season coming off of the bench against Detroit.

Harrison responded positively to the benching, first with his words, by acknowledging he needs to be more mature and saying he’ll come off of the bench if he has to, and then with his actions, by scoring 22 points in 29 minutes on Tuesday afternoon, 15 of which came in the second half.

Not only did Harrison lead the way for the Red Storm by means of scoring, but he made several integral baskets that led the Red Storm to a 24-14 finish, helping them edge out a 77-74 win over Detroit. Harrison spoke to ESPN about the progress he’s making after the game, “I think I did a really good job and didn’t react to anything. It’s just keep taking steps.”

Harrison was happy to lead his team to victory, but might be happier to know he’s getting back on his coach’s good side. “Across the board I was really impressed,” Lavin said. “D’Angelo, from the time we threw him out of practice and took away his starting position, he’s been outstanding. The kids have really responded to tough love. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Just like being a parent.”

Like he said, Harrison is just taking his benching experience step-by-step, and is doing his best to let his actions do the talking.

That’s what leaders do.

For hoops, hip-hop and other random sports and pop culture commentary, follow Jared Mintz on Twitter @JaredMintzTruth

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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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