St. John’s guard Rysheed Jordan takes a leave of absence

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St. John’s sophomore guard Rysheed Jordan has taken a leave of absence from the program, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com on Friday night. Jeff Goodman of ESPN first reported the news.

“Rysheed will take an indefinite leave of absence from our basketball program and will not be with the team as he focuses his attention on personal and family circumstances,” St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin said in a statement released by the school later on Friday night.

Jordan is second on the team in scoring averaging 14.0 points to go along with 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game for the Red Storm. The 6-foot-4 sophomore had started the first five games of the season, but was replaced in the starting five by Jamal Branch, after a few games where turnovers began to pile up.

Jordan has appeared in 12 of 13 games for St. John’s, missing a 66-49 win over Long Beach State on Dec. 22, although, that was due to a stomach bug, according to the team.

The Red Storm weren’t a deep team to begin with, mostly on the frontline as big men Keith Thomas and Adonis De La Rosa have been sidelined with eligibility issues to begin the season.

But the loss of Jordan comes at a crucial point of the season for No. 15 St. John’s a program looking to get back into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010. The Johnnies are 0-1 in conference following a 78-67 loss to Seton Hall on New Year’s Eve. The next three games will also test shorthanded St. John’s. On Saturday, Butler heads to Carnesecca Arena, also looking to get its first Big East win. Three days later, No. 6 Villanova comes to town. St. John’s gets a week-long break before resuming conference play at Providence.

St. John’s has had the tendency of falling behind early, and if that trend continues, the Red Storm will have to play from behind without one their top players. At least for the time being.