Mike Anderson is in his second season with St. John’s and, well, things could be going better.
Anderson is known for never having a losing season in all his years coaching. This is an extremely impressive statistic for someone who has coached for many years in tough basketball conferences. Unfortunately, when push comes to shove, that record hasn’t translated in to much real success for his teams. By real success, I mean NCAA tournament appearances, tournament wins, and conference championships. Anderson made one Elite-8 appearance in his tenure at Missouri, but has otherwise been mediocre.
At Barstool St. John’s we are usually very big fans of Coach Anderson and love gassing him up on our socials.
However, recent performance is making me question my initial instincts about him as a coach. I thought he’d have this team moving in the right direction this season, but it seems like we have only been taking steps backwards. He is slowly beginning to lose the St. John’s fanbase and he needs to figure something out quick before this gets even more out of hand. After yet another brutal loss last night in a game that we should have won, I took a look at what he’s done so far at St. John’s. Which isn’t much.
Big East Record
In his first twenty-three Big East games, Anderson is 6-17. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is an embarrassing record and frankly a major cause for concern for this program going forward (see next section). To make matters worse Anderson is 1-12 on Big East road games in his first season and a half in Queens. This simply won’t get it done. I don’t have a stat for this but one of my biggest concerns for Coach Anderson is the inability to hold on to games late in the second half. In just this year alone, he has let games slip away against Xavier and Georgetown, and we almost let the Boston College game slip away after being up by 20 points.
Mike Anderson seemingly has no clear plan for most Big East games and NEVER makes adjustments when they are needed most.
I won’t get into the whole Josh Roberts issue right now, but this is a perfect example of Coach Anderson failing to make any adjustments. This is yet another game where Josh Roberts could have helped in a big way on the glass, but instead he decided to keep him on the bench for the full 40 minutes.
Last season we likely would’ve been an NIT team, unless we made some crazy Big East Tournament run. This year it is looking like yet again we will be playing on opening night of the BET in the 10/11 game. Up until this point there has been no progress made in Anderson’s second season at the helm.
Well, how the hell are we suppose to land recruits when all we do is lose.
Recruit: “Why should I come to St. John’s?”
MA: “Ugh… we play at the Garden sometimes and were good in the 80’s”
Those are basically our only selling points to any recruits: Playing at Madison Square Garden and having a rich history of success. Key word is “history”.
We have no present day success. Why would any highly respected recruit want to go to a school that loses? They don’t. With UConn back in the Big East, recruiting is only going to get more difficult for us, accelerating us into a never ending downward spiral.
The best selling point in recruiting any player is making them feel like they are going to be apart of a program that is going to have lots of success on the court. St. John’s can’t offer this at the moment and it’s unfortunate because I’m having trouble seeing a time where we can.
The 2021 recruiting class includes some solid players, but he’s missing two things. He’s missing that 4-star stud who can carry the team at times, and he’s missing a traditional back you down type of center that can hold down the paint against Big East teams. Until he finds those pieces, we are going to look lost against Big East teams. I can promise you that.
How Long Can This Go On?
Mike Anderson is going to have many more chances to win games at St. John’s, as he should. I will not write him off yet. If it were up to me, his job is secured through the end of next season. Some people say give him the full cycle (four years), but if he doesn’t pull it together down the stretch of this season…next year he will be under lots of pressure.
Mike Anderson’s job is safe, and we don’t want him out per se — but it is time to put the blame on him once in a while because no one ever does. If he wants to build something in Queens, he needs to start moving things in the right direction now.