St. John’s

Big East Basketball Tournament - Second Round - St John's v Villanova

Assigned Reading: St. John’s pulls together through adversity

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St. John’s and head coach Steve Lavin have dealt with a lot of trying times in the last couple of seasons, including Lavin’s own battle with prostate cancer, the loss of Lavin’s father, Albert, as well as a number of tragic incidents that involved family members and friends of players on St. John’s.

In this fantastic read from Nate Taylor of The New York Times, we get an insight of how the Red Storm has had to weather so many tragedies together as a team and how it has made them stronger.

Lavin knows communication is vital, and he believes that it is the main reason his team has stuck together and matured through times of sorrow, including his own. In the past two years, family members or friends of four Red Storm players — Sir’Dominic Pointer, Phil Greene, Christian Jones and Rysheed Jordan — have died in shootings or automobile accidents.

It is nice to see that at St. John’s teammates are there rallying for each other and looking out for their own when tragedy strikes. At 9-5, the Red Storm have had an up-and-down start to the season, but they are no doubt a stronger team on and off the floor because of it. St. John’s will have a major test today at home in a Big East contest against No. 8 Villanova.

You can read the full version of Taylor’s story on St. John’s here.

St. John’s strength & conditioning coach rebuilding home ravaged by Hurricane Sandy

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Last October Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern seaboard, resulting in 117 deaths in the United States (69 more deaths in Canada and the Caribbean) and billions of dollars in damage. Families in some areas are still working to rebuild their lives nearly a year after Sandy, estimated by the National Hurricane Center to be the second-costliest tropical cyclone on record (behind Katrina).

One of those people rebuilding is St. John’s strength and conditioning coach Patrick Dixon, whose house on Long Island was destroyed by the natural disaster. But instead of packing up and moving elsewhere Dixon’s done what many have chosen to do: rebuild, erecting a three-floor house to replace the original single-story home in Long Beach, N.Y.

Rather than use his insurance and federal grant money to either purchase or build a home similar to the original structure Dixon borrowed in order to help offset the costs for a larger (and ultimately, better equipped to handle major storms) dwelling, acquiring permits needed in order to legally demolish and rebuild his house.

He hired professionals for the complicated jobs that required licensed contractors — pouring a foundation or laying out electric wiring. Since May he’s spent hours in early afternoons and evenings to put up frames, strap and nail wood sheathing, and install wood staircases and Sheetrock walls, he said.

Dixon put in the time, and he’s now close to completing this difficult task. And in regards to those permits Dixon needed the city’s been helpful with the process, although there was some surprise initially when approached by a home owner who wanted to embark on such a project.

So the city’s building department staff “just openly laughed; they’ve been very helpful with getting this job done” when he inquired about permits for demolishing and rebuilding it on his own, he said.

To say the least that’s great news, and it can also serve as a teaching point for the players Dixon trains. For as difficult as pushing through that extra sprint on the court or extra rep in the weight room can be, imagine how difficult the process of rebuilding a home can be.

Sophomore Amir Garrett will transfer from St. John’s

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Sophomore swingman Amir Garrett will leave the St. John’s program and transfer to another institution, he announced via a series of messages on his Twitter page Tuesday night.

Garrett, who came to St. John’s in the second semester of his freshman season after running to eligibility issues with the NCAA at the beginning of the 2011-12 season, saw decreased minutes during his sophomore year. He averaged 5.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in just over 20 minutes per game for a team that finished 17-16 on the year, including 8-10 in the Big East.

Garrett is a native of Los Angeles, Calif., and was part of Steve Lavin’s first full recruiting class that came to Queens. That class included nine players: Moe Harkless, Sir’Dominic Pointer, D’Angelo Harrison, Norvel Pelle, JaKarr Sampson, Phil Greene, Nurideen Lindsey, God’sgift Achiuwa, and Garrett.

Of those nine, Pelle never played college ball because of academic issues and has now entered his name into the 2013 NBA draft, Lindsey transferred to Rider and was eligible to play immediately this past season, and Harrison was suspended for the end of the regular season and entire postseason for conduct detrimental to the team.

Garrett has opportunities outside of basketball, though. He is currently signed to play minor league baseball in the Cincinnati Reds farm system, but says that he will continue his basketball career at another school.

This now frees up a scholarship for St. John’s in 2013 and Steve Lavin is actively recruiting point guard Rysheed Jordan, a Philadelphia native.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Big East will take no further action after St. John’s-Notre Dame altercation

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The Big East Conference will take no further action against the players involved in Tuesday night’s altercation between St. John’s and Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., the league announced Wednesday.

With under two minutes to play in Notre Dame’s 66-40 victory, St. John’s sophomore Sir’Dominic Pointer and Notre Dame freshman Cameron Biedscheid began fighting during a dead ball situation. Teammates from both sides rushed in to break up the scuffle, including St. John’s sophomore Amir Garrett, who left the Red Storm bench.

Both Pointer and Biedscheid were ejected and given mandatory one-game suspensions for their roles in the altercation. Garrett was ejected for leaving the bench, despite his intentions to dissipate the situation, but will not face any further disciplinary action.

St. John’s was once considered a bubble team for the NCAA tournament, but has lost six of its past eight games and appears to be headed for a berth in the NIT. Notre Dame improved to 23-7 overall and 11-6 in the Big East after its win Tuesday night.

Notre Dame will be without Biedscheid when it takes on No. 8 Louisville on the road on Saturday. The top four seeds in the final Big East regular season standings receive a double-bye in the conference tournament. The Irish are currently tied for fourth place with Pittsburgh and also with Syracuse if the Orange hold off DePaul Wednesday night.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Ejections made after fight breaks out between Notre Dame, St. John’s (VIDEO)

Pointer fight
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Notre Dame led by 26 points against St. John’s with under two minutes to play Tuesday when Jack Cooley was being subbed out of the game for the final time on Senior Night.

As he walked toward the bench to make the substitution, a fight between St. John’s sophomore Sir’Dominic Pointer and Notre Dame freshman Cameron Biedscheid broke out near mid-court and Cooley and other teammates from both sides got in the middle to try to separate the two players.

Pointer and Biedscheid were seen during an earlier free throw pushing each other and some words could have been exchanged prior to the fight. As far as lasting implications, rules dictate that a player who is ejected for fighting is forced to sit out the following game.

St. John’s sophomore Amir Garrett was also ejected for leaving the bench in what appeared to be an attempt to break up the fight. Players who are on the bench are not permitted to leave the sideline during such an altercation.

Watch the video below:

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

St. John’s misses out on chance for quality win in loss to No. 20 Pittsburgh

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Villanova notched another quality conference win Saturday when it took down No. 17 Marquette, 60-56, and improved to 18-10 overall and 9-6 in the Big East. That win adds to the two wins against Top 5 teams that they had earlier in the year, Syracuse and Louisville, to make what is shaping up to be a solid bubble resume.

St. John’s needed a win Sunday against No. 20 Pittsburgh to match and help claw its way into the race, but could not, plagued by 32 percent shooting and losing to the Panthers, 63-47, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Guard D’Angelo Harrison, one of the conference’s leading scorers, was 1-of-12 from the floor Sunday as Pittsburgh’s defense did well to  lock down on him and the rest of the Red Storm’s offensive weapons. New York native Tray Woodall went off for 25 points to lead Pittsburgh, including 4-of-7 shooting from three-point range.

The loss drops St. John’s to 16-11 overall and 8-7 in the Big East, but still with two more opportunities to grab the type of quality wins that would be appealing to the committee on Selection Sunday. If they can avoid a loss to a solid Providence team on the road, they have No. 25 Notre Dame on the road and No. 17 Marquette at home to finish out the regular season.

They would at least two of those three wins to get to 18 wins, but would then likely need to do some work in the Big East tournament to woo the committee.

That is where early season blemishes come back to hurt the Red Storm. Losses to UNC-Asheville and San Francisco in the non-conference will stick out, plus they lost to Baylor and Villanova, two teams that are also on the bubble to make the Field of 68.

Steve Lavin’s team is young, talented, and athletic. If they miss out on the NCAA tournament, they’ll find themselves squarely in the NIT. They’re building something solid in Queens, even if this year won’t see them grabbing an at-large bid to the Big Dance.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_