One day after St. John’s received good news in regards to the status of forward Orlando Sanchez, head coach Steve Lavin suspended his leading scorer for the remainder of the season.
Sophomore guard D’Angelo Harrison has been suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, and he will miss the Red Storm’s final three regular season games as well as the Big East Championship and any postseason games following that.
“I had a productive meeting with D’Angelo yesterday. He has a bright future in basketball and I’m optimistic his time away from our team will be of value,” Lavin said in the release.
On the season Harrison, who was a Big East All-Rookie Team selection last year, averaged 17.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game and shot 39.4% from the field (31.5% 3PT). Harrison had one of his worst outings of the season in the Red Storm’s loss to No. 23 Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon, scoring just six points on 1-of-12 shooting.
Harrison scored 20 points or more in 13 of his 27 games and earlier this season became the 48th player in the history of the program to reach the 1,000-point mark. As a freshman the Missouri City, Texas native scored 544 points, surpassing Erick Barkley (500 points in 1998-99) for the highest point total by a freshman in St. John’s history, and also set a school record with 76 made three-pointers.
With Harrison in the fold the Red Storm (16-11, 8-7) were a serious longshot to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Without him the odds are about as close as they can get to being insurmountable without being declared as such, as Jamal Branch has struggled with injuries of late. That means sophomore Phil Greene IV is the lone guard remaining in the rotation who is capable of creating off the dribble.
But what about 2013-14? Simply suspending Harrison leaves the door open to a return, but according to multiple reports he’ll need to earn the opportunity to return to the program due to what’s been termed as a “pattern of behavior.”
If all available players (including Harrison) return to Queens next season the Red Storm would be right at the 13 scholarship mark, which would lead to Lavin and his staff having to make room if they were to land someone like guard Rysheed Jordan (also considering Temple and UCLA).
But regardless of what the future may hold, without Harrison the Red Storm’s chances of earning an NCAA tournament bid don’t look good.