With the number of contributors back from last season’s team and the addition of freshman guard Rysheed Jordan, more than a few people believe that Steve Lavin’s St. John’s squad has the pieces needed to return to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. But the Red Storm beat Monmouth on Friday night without the services of Jordan, whose suspension from the team for a violation of team rules was announced shortly before the game tipped off.
“We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes at St. John’s,” Lavin said in the release. “We are hopeful that moving forward Rysheed will be able to meet his responsibilities and be able to rejoin our team on the court.”
While it seemed as if the suspension would only be for one game, according to Zach Braziller of the New York Post the head coach doesn’t know when – or if – the preseason pick to be Big East Rookie of the Year will return to the court.
“If he takes care of business, he’ll be on the team,” Lavin said. “If he doesn’t, he won’t. … It’s a basic responsibility that our team members must adhere to, and if they take care of that aspect, they’re allowed to participate as student-athletes and if they don’t, they won’t. It’s real basic.”
“We want him back on the team.”
Jordan started all three of the Red Storm’s games prior to Friday’s contest, posting averages of 4.3 points and 2.3 assists per game. St. John’s does have experienced options in the form of juniors Phil Greene IV (12.0 ppg, 1.0 apg) and D’Angelo Harrison, with Harrison averaging 1.8 assists in addition to a team-high 19.8 points per game. And the team’s current leader in assists is senior power forward Orlando Sanchez, who’s averaging 2.5 helpers per game.
But for the experience and talent that those players possess, they’re better (and the team is as well) when the talented Jordan’s running the show. Losing Jordan for an extended amount of time wouldn’t lock the Red Storm in for another trip to the NIT, but it certainly won’t help matters as they look to get back to the Big Dance.