Last season the St. John’s Red Storm had a future lottery pick in Maurice Harkless. Due to the attention that Harkless received another player got a lot less limelight than he deserved, D’Angelo Harrison. During his freshman campaign Harrison scored some of the quietest 16 point per game possible. Some of that had to do with the Red Storm’s less than stellar season and a lot more of it was playing alongside the far more hyped Harkless. Now, thanks to him getting some preseason shine, national media members are starting to push Harrison’s story.
This is the second straight season the Johnnies have a humorously young squad. Thanks in a large part in Harrison’s play, as opposed to last year’s team, the 2012-13 Red Storm are legitimate players to make the NCAA Tournament come March.
Harrison has become more efficient this season as well, shooting .460 percent from the floor opposed to .374 last season, making him an even more dynamic player for St. John’s. His shooting percentage going up is rather strange, not because he’s not a good shooter, but because teams are clearly game planning their defenses around him. A lot of that has to do with the emergence of Phil Greene IV as a point guard leaving Harrison to play his more natural position as a two guard.
Right now Harrison scores the 12th most points per game in the entire NCAA. Not bad for a guy nobody outside college hoops die-hards know yet. But it’s not the points per game that impresses me the most about the sophomore from Missouri City, TX. It’s his uncanny ability to create his own shots and make them regardless of how tough the defense is.
I can break down the Red Storm film all I want. Harrison is undeniably benefiting from Greene’s switch to the full-time point guard. Yet a ton of Harrison’s baskets are coming off isolation plays that he has created for himself. This is an attribute few collegiate basketball players have. While in the NBA we crush guys like Joe Johnson for being “isolation” type players, in the college game it’s one of the characteristics that can set you and your team apart from the rest of the pack. Harrison gives the Johnnies a viable option to have him take over a game on any given night, meaning they can beat anybody in the country thanks to his ability to carry a team on his back. Fewer “runs” in college basketball compared to the NBA for this reason. Not as many guys can go off like Harrison in college.
Harrison isn’t just a star because he’s become efficient, St. John’s go to guy, and one of the premiere scorers in the country. The kid is flat out fun to watch play. Seems like a silly reason to make a person a “star” but nobody cares about a guy putting up 20 a game if it’s done on a bad team and not as exciting to watch(See Cleveland Melvin).
Next time St. John’s has a game available for you to watch I highly recommend you tune in. Between their shot blocking ability, a few way above the rim players, and Harrison, there might not be a more exciting team in the country to watch. As a team I’m not really sure what the ceiling is for this season. However, thanks to Harrison, nobody can count out the Red Storm no matter who they are playing.
Now that’s a star.