After missing a game to return home to tend to two ailing relatives, St. John’s freshman point guard Rysheed Jordan has returned to the program and will be available when the Red Storm face Columbia on Saturday afternoon. The one game Jordan missed was a 96-87 win over Youngstown State last Saturday.
“Rysheed was back at practice yesterday after the Christmas break and will be with us for the Columbia game on Saturday,” head coach Steve Lavin said in the release. “It’s been a tough stretch for Rysheed dealing with both his mother’s and grandfather’s illnesses. I have been impressed with Rysheed’s ability to persevere through this challenging time while trying to balance his responsibilities as a student-athlete.
“Our players have rallied around Rysheed and have been a good support system during this difficult stretch.”
Jordan struggled some to start the season, but in the two games prior to his leaving the team the Philadelphia native averaged 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game against No. 2 Syracuse and San Francisco. The preseason pick to win Big East Rookie of the Year, Jordan displayed signs of being the impact player many expected him to be when he signed with St. John’s.
As a result of Jordan’s absence St. John’s pulled the redshirt of sophomore guard Felix Balamou, who played ten minutes against Youngstown State. He finished the game with two points and one rebound.
An interesting recruiting development hit on Friday as Josh Gershon of Scout.com reported that four-star center Jayce Johnson is reclassifying to the Class of 2015 and looking to join a program at semester break.
The 7-foot native of California is down to Cal, Colorado and Utah and Johnson is on an official visit to Utah this weekend after transferring to a charter school this week. As Gershon notes, only Cal has a scholarship to offer Johnson this season, but the family is willing to pay a semester at the other programs if it’s the right fit. Johnson would like to redshirt and train with his future college while playing against more mature players.
But if Johnson is persuaded not to redshirt, he could be an intriguing big man off the bench later in the season for a couple of teams looking to make a postseason appearance. As the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson is a talented prospect and he isn’t afraid to score with either hand. With some time to fill out, Johnson can turn into a talented Pac-12 player down the road.
New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.
The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.