For the first time since 1985, a member of the St. John’s basketball team will wear No. 20.
Chris Mullin wore that number from 1981-1985, winning three consecutive Big East Player of the Year awards and leading the Johnnies to a Final Four as a senior. His jersey currently hanging in the rafters of Carnesecca Arena.
On the 2016-17 St. John’s roster, Richard Freudenberg, a freshman forward from Germany, will wear No. 20. According to Howie Kussoy of the New York Post, Freudenberg had to earn it.
For the first time since Mullin was in uniform, a St. John’s player — freshman Richard Freudenberg — will wear the school’s most famous number. When the young German asked his coach if it would be all right to borrow the number, Mullin had no issue with it, but proposed a best-of-five series of H-O-R-S-E for the honor.
Despite Mullin winning the fifth game, he decided to let his star freshman don his old number.
It’s simply impossible to replicate the collegiate success Chris Mullin had at St. John’s. But this gesture does show the confidence Mullin has in Freudenberg. There’s a lot to like about the 6-foot-9 forward. He’s clearly got great size for a wing and should be a knockdown shooter from the outside.
He, like the rest of the young St. John’s roster, will need time to develop, but he should be a key piece on the frontline with Yankuba Sima and Kassoum Yakwe.
St. John’s opens its season on Nov. 11 against Bethune-Cookman.