Tag: Steve Lavin


Reports: Chris Obekpa to stay at St. John’s, Rysheed Jordan leaning toward returning

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Chris Mullin wasted little time since accepting the head coaching position at his alma mater. The new St. John’s coach has offered several local recruits and hired a key assistant coach in Matt Abdelmassih. On Monday night, during the national championship game, it was reported that Mullin will retain one of his key returners.

Chris Obekpa, the shotblocking junior, will reportedly stay at St. John’s for his senior season, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Obekpa, the only big man on the St. John’s roster last season, was suspended for two weeks on March 15, hours before Selection Sunday.

Following a season-ending loss to San Diego State in the Round of 64, Steve Lavin said to reporters, “I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he doesn’t return to St. John’s.” Six days later, Lavin and St. John’s agreed to part ways after five seasons.

Obekpa averaged 5.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. The 6-foot-10 Obekpa was one of two players Mullin was looking to retain. The other being sophomore guard Rysheed Jordan, who finished second on the team in scoring. According to a report on Monday night from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Jordan is also leaning toward returning to St. John’s as well.

Even if Jordan rejoins Obekpa and the Johnnies, Mullin will still have his work cut out for him, as no other returner averaged more than 9.0 minutes per game last season, and Brandon Sampson, the program’s top commit, reopened his recruitment on Lavin left.

Report: Chris Mullin offered, expected to become St. John’s next head coach

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St. John’s has offered Chris Mullin the head coaching job, and he is expected to accept, according to a report from Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports on Sunday evening.

The former Red Storm star became a top target once the university parted ways with Steve Lavin after five seasons. The Hall of Fame small forward was a three-time Big East Player of the Year and led St. John’s to the 1985 Final Four.

This hire will definitely win the press conference, but will similar wins happen on the court, too?

For starters, Mullin, who currently serves as advisory role with the Sacramento Kings, has no head coaching experience. Sure, Big East loyalists will love the move, but will all the points he scored back in the 1980s really resonate with recruits who weren’t alive for his Run TMC days?

Of course, he could make up for that disadvantage with a top-notch coaching staff.

It’s worth noting that Mullin had the chance to jump to the bench back in December. After Michael Malone was fired, it was reported that the Kings’ head coaching job was Mullin’s if he wanted it. However, Mullin turned it down, electing not to begin his coaching career midseason.

Rhode Island’s Danny Hurley reportedly had interest in the vacancy, but signed a six-year deal with the Rams earlier on Sunday. Steve Masiello, who has led Manhattan to back-to-back NCAA tournaments, was also believed to be a candidate.

If he does in fact accept, Mullin will be inheriting a team that graduates D’Angelo Harrison, Sir’Dominic Pointer, Phil Greene IV and Jamal Branch. Aside from bringing in several assistant coaches who can help recruit, Mullin’s top priority will be retaining Chris Obekpa and Rysheed Jordan.

Steve Lavin and St. John’s ‘mutually agree’ to part ways

Steve Lavin's three seniors have the NCAA tournament in their sights (AP Photo)
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St. John’s announced on Friday afternoon that Steve Lavin and the university have “mutually agreed” to part ways.

Lavin had been with the program for five seasons.

“Coach Lavin returned high expectations to our men’s basketball program and represented St. John’s in a positive way,” Chris Monasch said in the release. “We appreciate his commitment to the program and to our student-athletes over the past five years. Our student-athletes represented the University well, especially our five-member senior class who excelled on the court, inside the classroom and within the community.”

The Johnnies were 21-12 this past season, going 10-8 in the Big East and reaching the NCAA tournament, where they lost in the opening round to San Diego State.

Expect to see a number of high-profile coaches get in the mix to replace Lavin. Rhode Island head coach Danny Hurley will likely be in the mix, sources told NBCSports.com. Hurley was a storied high school coach in New Jersey before heading to the collegiate ranks. Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello and Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino are two more names to keep in mind, while Chris Mullin will likely get a look as well.

The departure of Lavin has already changed the outlook for St. John’s 2015-16 season. According to Ben Love of Scout.com, four-star Class of 2015 shooting guard Brandon Sampson has re-opened his recruitment from the Red Storm. Since Sampson committed after the November signing period, he has no obligation to stick with St. John’s.