For the next five days, Beyond the Arc will detail what some teams need. Hey, we’re in a giving mood.
The growing pains of this historically-young St. John’s team are well-documented.
So what would the Red Storm want for Christmas if someone brought them something they desired, something that’d be nice to have an what would they like to return? Glad you asked.
Must Have: Depth
It’s been the biggest problem in Queens in 2011. With the rulings of ineligibility handed down to freshman forwards JaKarr Sampson, Norvel Pelle, and Amir Garrett, along with the sudden transfer of point guard Nurideen Lindsey, St. John’s ran with a six-man rotation in a win over Fordham.
Garrett’s paperwork is submitted to the NCAA Clearinghouse and the Red Storm wait for word on his eligibility for the spring semester. Without a solid eight-man rotation, things will be tougher in the Big East than already expected.
Stocking Stuffer: D’Angelo Harrison
During the Red Storm’s run to the NCAA tournament last season, senior Dwight Hardy was the engine that drove a string of wins over ranked teams at Madison Square Garden. Hardy was brought up as a shooting guard, but was converted to run the point.
This year, D’Angelo Harrison is in a similar spot. With the departure of Lindsey, assistant coach Mike Dunlap has said that Harrison could take the same route as Hardy, exploiting his knack for scoring, while using him as the primary ballhandler.
He is averaging 13.5 points per game so far this season, but has the skill and instinct to average as much 17-20. In combination with fellow freshman Moe Harkless, two strong scoring options is a must, moving into Big East play.
Planning to Re-gift: Upcoming Schedule
From December 31st-January 15th, the Red Storm schedule looks as follows: No. 9 Connecticut, No. 4 Louisville, Cincinnati (with Yancy Gates back), No. 10 Marquette, and No. 16 Georgetown.
Talk about a rough stretch.
In addition to the Big East slate, they take on No. 5 Duke at Cameron Indoor on January 28th.
With a short bench and head coach Steve Lavin still working back to 100% after prostate cancer surgery, January will be a trial by fire for this group of young players.