St. John’s Red Storm

Michigan State's Marvin Clark Jr., left, drives against Arkansas-Pine Bluff's Jaquan Lynch during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in East Lansing, Mich.  (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

St. John’s nabs Michigan State transfer Clark

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St. John’s officially added Michigan State transfer Marvin Clark on Wednesday, the school announced.
Clark, a 6-foot-6 forward, played his freshman and sophomore seasons for Tom Izzo in East Lansing before announcing his intent to transfer last month. He visited Providence in addition to St. John’s.
“We are glad Marvin has decided to join our basketball family,” said St. John’s coach Chris Mullin said in a statement released by the school. “He’s an experienced player with size, athleticism and a solid skill set. Marvin is a good fit for our program and we believe he will transition well into our style of play.”
Clark averaged 4.2 points per game while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor during his two seasons as a Spartan. His playing time diminished from 11.2 minutes per game his freshman season to 9.7 minutes per game last year. Michigan State is again expected to have a full frontcourt, which would have left Clark battling for minutes once again.
At St. John’s, Clark will help bolster a roster that was in need of a major overhaul when Mullin took over a year ago. The Red Storm have been aggressive in targeting and bringing in transfers thus far in Mullin’s tenure.
Clark’s story goes well beyond basketball as he endured a difficult childhood in Kansas City that included time where he was homeless. He’s an easy story to root for, and will get a new start at St. John’s when he begins his final two seasons of eligibility in 2017-18.

SUNDAY’S SNACKS: St. John’s upsets Syracuse, No. 9 Villanova rolls

Federico Mussini
Associated Press
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GAME OF THE DAY Houston 105, LSU 98 (OT)

Rob Gray Jr. scored a career-high 31 and Chicken Knowles added 20 and nine rebounds as the Cougars beat the Tigers at home. This was the second test of the season for Kelvin Sampson’s team, which lost at Rhode Island earlier in the week.

LSU welcomed back guard Keith Hornsby and he scored 32 points, with three coming on the shot that forced overtime, and Tim Quarterman added 27, ten and six assists, but defending and rebounding were major issues for Johnny Jones’ team. Ben Simmons finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and five assists before fouling out late in regulation.


St. John’s 84, Syracuse 72: Chris Mullin picked up the biggest win of his tenure as head coach at his alma mater, with the Red Storm beating the Orange by 12 at the Garden. Federico Mussini scored 17 points to lead five Red Storm in double figures, with Amar Alibegovic (15 points, nine rebounds) and Durand Johnson (15, seven and four assists) among the other standouts for the home team. Syracuse struggled from deep, shooting 5-for-26 from three.

Rob Dauster has more about this game here.

Nebraska 70, Rhode Island 67: Shavon Shields scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds and freshman guard Glynn Watson scored 13 of his 17 in the second half at the Huskers came back to be the Rams in Lincoln. Jarvis Garrett and Kuran Iverson scored 15 apiece for URI, with Jared Terrell’s three-pointer that would have tied the game missing the mark in the final seconds. Three of the Rams’ four losses this season have been by three points or less.


Mandell Thomas, Fordham: Thomas accounted for 27 points, seven rebounds and two assists in the Rams’ 92-55 win over Coppin State. Fordham’s now 9-1 on the season.

Obi Enechionyia, Temple: The Owls fell short against Saint Joseph’s but the sophomore forward played very well, scoring 25 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.


Malachi Richardson, Syracuse: Richardson missed all eleven of his three-point attempts in a loss at St. John’s, scoring 15 points on 4-for-20 shooting.

Kevin Puryear, Missouri: Puryear, who to this point in the season has been the Tigers’ best front court player, scored four points on 2-for-10 shooting in a blowout loss at No. 13 Arizona.

Chicago State’s three-point shooting: The Cougars were fighting an uphill battle against Northwestern, which comes as no surprise. But they shot 1-for-19 from three in the 77-35 defeat.


  • No. 4 Iowa State got off to a sluggish start but that didn’t keep them from taking care of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 78-64. Jameel McKay scored 18 points and Matt Thomas added 17 for the Cyclones, with the latter seeing more playing time with senior Naz Mitrou-Long still working his way back to full strength after undergoing hip surgery in the summer.
  • No. 9 Villanova rebounded from its first loss of the season in solid fashion, beating Big 5 rival La Salle 76-47. The Wildcats shot nearly 55 percent from the field, and Josh Hart led five players in double figures with 18 points.
  • No. 13 Arizona rolled to an 88-52 win over Missouri Sunday night, with Mark Tollefsen leading six in double figures with 17 points. The Tigers shot just 30.4 percent from the field and didn’t have a single player score in double figures.
  • Jevon Thomas, whose wayward behind the back pass led to his getting yanked from a loss to Virginia on Tuesday, rebounded with a 21-point effort as No. 14 West Virginia steamrolled ULM 100-58. Bob Huggins’ team scored 59 points in the first half and racked up 14 steals on the day.


  • Marc-Eddy Norelia scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds in FGCU’s 77-76 win over UMass. Rayjon Tucker’s three-point play with 10.6 seconds remaining proved to be the difference.
  • Bonzie Colson scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in Notre Dame’s 81-61 win over Loyola-Chicago. In total the Fighting Irish had five players in double figures, with forward Matt Ryan scoring 14 off the bench.
  • Benji Bell scored 18 points off the bench to lead Florida State to a comfortable 75-58 win over Southeastern Louisiana. Freshman guard Malik Beasley added 16 for the Seminoles.
  • James Woodard scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds as Tulsa won 70-61 at Missouri State.
  • South Dakota State moved to 9-1 on the season with an 86-68 win over UCSB. Deondre Parks led the way for the Jackrabbits with 23 points and five rebounds, and SDSU has now won 26 straight home games.
  • Saint Joseph’s had some issues with its defending of ball screens, but they managed to win at Temple 66-65 in overtime. DeAndre Bembry finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds and freshman Lamarr Kimble made some key plays down the stretch for the Hawks.
  • Bennie Boatwright scored 17 points and Jordan McLaughlin added 14, seven and four assists as USC beat Yale 68-56. Julian Jacobs sat out the game with tendonitis in his Achilles tendon.
  • BeeJay Anya scored a career-high 17 points as NC State took care of USF, 65-46. Cat Barber led the way offensively for the Wolfpack with 19 points.
  • Monmouth won its home opener, beating Wagner 73-54 with Micah Seaborn posting a line of 19 points, three rebounds and four assists to lead the way.
  • Josh Hawkinson scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as Washington State beat UTEP, 84-68, to move to 6-2 on the season.
  • Shannon Hale’s steal and breakaway dunk with 25.6 seconds remaining was the play Alabama needed to beat Clemson 51-50 on the road. Retin Obasohan scored 23 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead the way for Avery Johnson’s team.
  • Tre Demps went for 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists as Northwestern blew out Chicago State 77-35.
  • Jordan Wilson scored 20 points and Southern Miss transfer Dallas Anglin, seeing his first action of the season, added 19 off the bench as Northern Colorado beat Colorado State 73-64 for their first win over a Division I opponent this season.
  • Josh Adams scored 22 points and Jason McManamen added 15 as Wyoming rebounded from a loss to Southern earlier in the week with a 62-59 win at New Mexico State. The Cowboys limited the Aggies to 35 percent shooting.

Report: St. John’s freshman LoVett could be eligible this season

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When the NCAA declared St. John’s freshman Marcus LoVett Jr. a partial qualifier last month, head coach Chris Mullin lost his lone true point guard for the 2015-16 season. However, according to a report the freshman may be able to take the floor this season for the Red Storm.

Wednesday it was reported by the New York Post that there’s a chance that LoVett could be cleared for competition at the end of the current semester. The school, LoVett and the NCAA Eligibility Center have maintained dialogue on the situation, which included the school advising LoVett and his family to consult with “appropriate legal counsel” when the initial ruling was made.

Per the report, should LoVett put together a good fall semester in the classroom he’d be able to join his teammates in game action beginning with the Red Storm’s game against Incarnate Word December 18.

Without LoVett the Red Storm have relied on fellow freshman Federico Mussini to run the point. Mussini, who’s playing more than 34 minutes per game, leads the team in scoring (14.4 ppg) and is second in assists (2.9 apg) but has tallied more assists (23) than turnovers (26) through the first eight games. Senior guard Felix Balamou currently leads the team with an average of 3.6 assists per game, with freshman Malik Ellison (2.5 apg) currently out with a foot injury.

St. John’s guard Felix Balamou reinstated by NCAA

Xavier Harris, Felix Balamou
Associated Press
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St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin will have one more guard to call upon Thursday night when the Red Storm host Rutgers as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, as the NCAA has reinstated senior guard Felix Balamou.

The 6-foot-4 Balamou was declared ineligible by the NCAA six days ago for a rules violation, resulting in his missing games against Wagner and UMBC as a result. No specifics regarding the violation were given, and it simply added to the frustration being felt by the program in its recent dealing with the NCAA.

Freshman point guard Marcus LoVett Jr. was declared to be a partial qualifier just before the start of the season, and classmate Kassoum Yakwe continues to wait for a ruling regarding his status.

The return of Balamou, who averaged 1.6 points in just over nine minutes of action per game, gives St. John’s another option on the perimeter moving forward. Freshmen Federico Mussini and Malik Ellison have been the starters for the Red Storm, with Mussini leading the team in both scoring (18.0 ppg) and assists (4.0 apg). Wings Durand Johnson and Ron Mvuoika are second and third on the team in scoring respectively.

St. John’s Balamou sidelined indefinitely by NCAA

Xavier Harris, Felix Balamou
Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) St. John’s junior guard Felix Balamou has been ruled ineligible over an unspecified NCAA rules violation.

The announcement came just hours before the Red Storm opened their season Friday night, and two days after freshman guard Marcus LoVett was declared a partial qualifier by the NCAA.

LoVett, a four-star recruit from Chicago, is allowed to practice with the team, as is Balamou while the school seeks reinstatement.

Balamou played in 54 games for the Red Storm, averaging 1.6 points and 1.1 rebounds in 9.1 minutes.

Chris Mullin coached his first game at his alma mater Friday, facing Wagner at Carnesecca Arena.

St. John’s PG Marcus LoVett deemed a partial qualifier

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Just days after head coach Chris Mullin expressed his frustration with the lack of an answer regarding the status of two of his key additions, St. John’s learned that one of those freshmen won’t play in games this season.

Wednesday afternoon the school announced that point guard Marcus LoVett Jr. has been deemed to be a partial qualifier by the NCAA. That means while the Fort Wayne, Indiana product can practice with the team and receive an athletic scholarship, he’ll have to complete a year in residency before being eligible for game competition.

And in the statement it’s clear that the school is none too thrilled with the decision, as they’ve advised LoVett’s family to look into possible legal options to challenge the ruling.

“The University disagrees with the NCAA’s decision and the process it used in reviewing Marcus’ initial eligibility waiver request,” interim athletic director and general counsel Joseph Oliva, Esq. said in the release “We have engaged in several conversations with the NCAA to express our concerns that their process may have violated Marcus’ legal rights.

“Unfortunately, it appears that the NCAA elected to disregard these concerns.  We have advised Marcus and his family to consult with appropriate legal counsel about the options that may be available to challenge the NCAA ruling and the standards it applied in this process.”

Not having LoVett in the fold is a big hit for Mullin in his first season as head coach at his alma mater, and to find out the news just two days before their season opener makes it an even tougher pill to swallow. That’s been one of the big issues with some NCAA eligibility rulings: timing. Schools such as St. John’s (who still hasn’t heard from the NCAA on Kassoum Yakwe), UCF (Tacko Fall), Kansas (Cheick Diallo) and Ohio State (Mickey Mitchell) have freshmen who are waiting for a final ruling with games scheduled for this weekend.

While there is a point in the preseason preparations where the coaching staff at each of those schools prepares with the idea that those players won’t be available, it would be nice to hear something in a timely fashion.

As for what the Red Storm will do without LoVett, beginning with their season opener against Wagner, they’re in a tough spot at the point. Freshman Federico Mussini saw a lot of time at the position during the team’s two exhibition games and Elijah Holifield is another option. In both of those games the Red Storm struggled with distributing the basketball, as they committed 27 turnovers in a stunning 32-point loss to St. Thomas Aquinas and followed that up with 18 more in a 64-46 win over Sonoma State.

This was expected to be a rebuilding year for St. John’s based upon the empty cupboard Mullin found when he took over, with he and his staff doing what they could to fill the roster. Not having LoVett in the fold makes year one that much more difficult for the Red Storm.