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Drissa Traore Interview

Who is Drissa Traore?

Drissa Traore is a 6-foot-8 forward from LUHI. He has the perfect build, play style, and passion for defense for Mike Anderson’s up tempo style. He is a fierce competitor who is ready to challenge himself at the next level. Traore has played with and against some of the best high school talent in the country, which has prepared him tremendously for Big East basketball. When discussing his high school experience he said that playing against teams like Sierra Canyon, The Patrick School, etc. has “given me confidence to show that I can compete with those high level players.

Full Interview

Home Sweet Home

Believe it or not Drissa originally didn’t want to go to school in New York. However he loves Mike Anderson’s play style. He ultimately chose St. John’s to further his academic and athletic career because of the success he saw Mike Anderson have in his first year at the helm and because the coaching staff made him feel wanted. Traore is excited to be in the Red and White this fall, “For me, watching them (on TV) is so exciting because I’m going to be there next year”.

He personally knows fellow New Yorker’s such as Dylan Addae-Wusu, Posh Alexander, and Julian Champagnie. He says how these guys “Play for New York” and this was intriguing to him. He has actually played with Dylan Addae-Wusu when they were younger. The two will look to reestablish that chemistry for the 2021-2022 season.

What Does he Bring to a Basketball Team?

Energy.

Traore said that, “What I’m going to bring is energy. Energy, rebounding, defense, talking”. He truly seems like a perfect fit for Mike Anderson’s 40-minutes of hell style of play and I think that Drissa Traore will prove to be a real hidden gem in this recruiting class.

Off the Court

Hobbies: Collecting Shoes

Favorite NBA Player: KD or LeBron (but he says he has many favorites so I asked him for his All time starting 5 instead)

Dream Job: Having his own business or being a teacher/coach.

All Time Starting 5:

PG: Steve Nash

SG: Kobe Bryant

SF: Michael Jordan

PF: LeBron James

C: Hakeem Olajuwon

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Andrés Pinzón Interview

St. John’s fans are going to be seeing many new faces on the men’s basketball team next season. Andrés Pinzón is one of the team’s most highly touted recruits for next season. Pinzón is originally from Puerto Rico, but has most recently played his High School Basketball at LUHI. He agreed to join me for an interview via zoom where we discussed his High School/FIBA basketball experiences, why he chose St. John’s, what fans can expect from him, and some of his off the court interests.

Excuse my lack of video editing experience.

High School Career

LUHI is a national basketball powerhouse year in and year out. Of course, most fans tend to focus on the incredible highlights from LUHI games against schools like Sierra Canyon and the Patrick School. However, aside from the games, Pinzón explained how “every day in practice was a lot of competition”. He says that the competition he saw in practice against guys like Andre Curbelo, Zed Key, and Jalen Celestine prepared him well to succeed at the next level. He still keeps in touch with those guys, specifically Andre Curbelo (Illinois University Point Guard) as they both have connections with the Puerto Rico National team.

Playing on the Puerto Rico national team and his experiences in FIBA is certainly things that make Pinzón unique in comparison to other St. John’s recruits. He absolutely stuffed the stat sheet throughout the U17 FIBA tournament in 2019; his best outing was against the Dominican Republic when he scored 28 points. He spoke about his FIBA experience, saying that “the game is slower so you have to read a lot of defenses so it helped me when I play in the United States because the game is way faster”. This sort of experience with reading defense is so valuable to a young college player, especially in the Big East.

A Look Into The Future

Why did Andrés Pinzón want to come to St. John’s? Well the answer is really quite simple. He wanted to stay in New York. When I asked him why St. John’s over schools such as Florida or New Mexico, he said that he “didn’t want to move to another state”. He went on to acknowledge Assistant Coach Van Macon as a crucial piece in his recruiting process. He and Coach Van Macon made a connection that played a role in getting Pinzón to commit to St. John’s.

When I asked Andrés what the best thing he brings to a basketball team is he told me that it was the ability to make others better. He says, “I can create for me, for my teammates…I like to share the ball and keep everybody involved”.

Life Outside of Basketball

To complete the interview we talked about some of the things he likes to do when he’s not playing basketball.

Hobbies: Going to the studio to hangout with his friends who rap (Andrés does not rap himself)

Favorite Rap Artist: Anuel & Bad Bunny

Dream Job that’s not playing basketball: Astronaut

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Regular Season Recap and Big East Tournament Preview

In a conference like the Big East, it is an incredible accomplishment if just one person from your program earns a conference honor. This year the Johnnies finished the regular season with several Big East awards.

Coach of the Year

Mike Anderson, a.k.a. Iron Mike, took home the hardware for Big East Coach of the year.

After being selected to finish ninth in the preseason polls Mike Anderson made it clear that he had other plans. He knew what he had with this team, and he proved very quickly that St. John’s is no longer a bottom feeder in this league. Anderson secured yet another winning season, making it 19 straight. This season was the first time in over half a decade that the Johnnies finished with a winning record in Big East play. The choice was clear for coach of the year and I’m glad that it was as clear to everyone else as it was to me. We are lucky to have a coach like MA in Queens.

Freshmen of Year & Defensive Player of the Year

Similarly to coach of the year, in my eyes this award the “Freshman of the Year” award was never a competition. Posh Alexander showed us from day 1 that he is a special player who was going to make a major impact in this league. He was the catalyst for the Johnnies all season long and fit like a glove into Mike Anderson’s “40 minutes of hell” style of basketball. Posh averaged 11.1 points, 4.4 assists, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.6 steals. 2.6 steals per game was good enough for 7th in the nation. His relentless defensive energy and determination earned him Big East Defensive Player of the Year.

Only three players in Big East history have won Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman. Who are those players you may ask? Patrick Ewing, Alonso Mourning, and Allen Iverson. ELITE company and Big East royalty.

Side note: After missing the last two games of the regular season do to injury, Posh Alexander IS playing today vs. Seton Hall.

Most Improved Player

Julian Champagnie

Freshmen Year: 9.9 PTS, 6.5 REB, 0.8 AST, 1.2 STL, 0.8 BLK

Sophomore Year: 19.9 PTS, 7.3 REB, 1.0 AST, 1.5 STL, 1.0 BLK

Julian also improved his three point percentage by a healthy margin going from 31% a year ago to 38%. He was able to improve his percentage while shooting four more threes per game. Coming into this season he spoke about how he put in a lot of time into his jump-shot in the off-season and it showed.

Aside from being named “Most Improved Player” Julian was also selected for All-Big East First Team.

Champagnie was a shoe-in for Big East First Team honors and there was a strong argument for him to be Player of the Year. In light of us having a game later this afternoon, I am going to keep karma on our side and I will not go on a rant about how the Player of the Year award was given out this year. Instead I will take the high road.

Over the next couple days it’ll become clear who the best player in the league is. Believe it!

Key’s to Beating Seton Hall…Again

Beating a team twice within the same week is never an easy task. However we can and will do it. After falling behind 18-0 at the start of the game, Mike Anderson rallied the troops and brought the team to within 10 points of the Pirates at the break. In the second half Julian Champagnie, Marcellus Earlington, and Dylan Wusu led the charge in what saw St. John’s out score Seton Hall 53-33 in the second half. This was easily the most impressive half of basketball that we’ve seen St. John’s play all year long and boy did it come at the right time.

When you evaluate the things that we’re doing on that run that made them so successful it really came down to two main things. Committing to slowing down Sandro Mamukelashvili and shooting efficiently from beyond the arc down the stretch. Mamukelashvili was one of the Big East Players of the Year this season. He is the motor that keeps Seton Hall moving. While it is almost impossible to slow him down, if we can hold him to 15 points like we did the other night, we can put ourselves in a very strong position for victory. Seton Hall doesn’t have a plentiful amount of scorers. It is vital that we don’t let their star forward get rolling. Back on March 6th when we beat Seton Hall, Marcellus Earlington scored 12 points on four 3-pointers. The junior forward was on fire from deep and helped to spark the massive comeback. As a team the Johnnies shot 45% from beyond the arc that night. They were extremely effective with the long ball and that played a major role in making them victorious.

MSG is our home court. Let’s take it to them. Go Johnnies.

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It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over

This Team Has Grit

Don’t count us out just yet. Every time I am convinced the season’s over, this team makes me a believer again. Last night reminded me why I bleed St. John’s basketball. It was one of those games that made you proud to be a student, alumni, fan, etc. Last night’s victory was a super gritty performance, led by a tremendous effort from Rasheem Dunn. In March, it’s easy to see which team/which player wants it more. Dunn, who will be graduating this May, understands that this is his last chance at an NCAA tournament. Every game from here on out is literally the most important game of his life and last night he played like that.

Player of the Game

Rasheem Dunn was the obvious choice for last night’s player of the game.

Dunn reminded us the importance of strong senior leadership in March. He scored a season high 21-points last night while shooting at a high clip. He played relentlessly on the defensive side of the ball and caused havoc for the Providence backcourt down the stretch in this one. You could tell he knew that with Posh out of the lineup, this was his time to take over.

Rasheem Dunn goes coast to coast and finishes it off with a lay-in. He was simply faster than every other player on the court.
Jelllyyyyyyyyyyy.

Double-double x2

Julian Champagnie and Isaih Moore both registered double-double totals last night during St. John’s comeback victory over Providence. Julian chipped in 16-points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Isaih Moore tallied 10-points and crashed the boards hard for 11 rebounds. Even in a game where Julian struggled to get his shot going, he created offense for himself by taking the ball to the rack and drawing fouls. He continues to be ultra-consistent night in and night out, which is all you can ask for from your best player and team leader.

Julian Champagnie knocks down the triple over Providence defender.

Isaih Moore was phenomenal off of the bench and played such an important role in last nights victory.

To be plus-26 in a single game is simply ridiculous. Especially when this game was close for a majority of it. St. John’s was on another level when Moore was in there doing his thing and it didn’t go unnoticed.

Stepping up

Greg Williams Jr. has been battling a back injury for the better part of this season. Last night he looked as healthy as ever before and came up HUGE for us when we needed him the most. It’s never easy when you go into a “must-win” game without one of your top players (Posh Alexander), but it makes things easier when you have a guy like Greg Williams who isn’t afraid of the moment and was ready to step up. Greg scored 15 points last night, played hard nosed defense, and converted all his attempts at the line. He will continue to be an x-factor for this team as we head down a stretch of “must win” games.

Greg Williams Jr. highlights:

Greg Williams Jr. explodes to the basket and dunks it admist a St. John’s comeback rally.
We know he can explode to the rim, but he’s not afraid to let it fly either.

Box Score

StartersRebASTSTLBLKTOPTS
Roberts501003
Champagnie10221116
Cole220018
Williams Jr.2001015
Dunn2310221
Bench
Moore11300310
Earlington412022
Wusu210136
McGriff000010
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This is March

This is march. Every college basketball fan’s favorite time of the year. For St. John’s fans, spirits are down as we fall on the outside looking in to this year’s NCAA March Madness Tournament. Let’s break down what needs to happen for us to get into this year’s tournament. According to teamrankings.com, we have a 5.9% chance of making a tournament appearance this year.

Let me remind you that in March, a 1% chance is all you need in order to make something happen. Just a couple of weeks ago, every bracket expert had us right on the bubble. An embarrassing loss at home to DePaul immediately dropped us from any consideration.

St. John’s has an opportunity to make something special happen down the stretch and give us something to root for this March Madness.

Protect the Home Floor

St. John’s finishes the regular season with two home games against Providence (3/3) and Seton Hall (3/6). These are two very winnable games that can build momentum headed into the Big East Tourney. 

The last time St. John’s faced Providence, we took it to them on their home floor. Led by Julian Champagnie (24 PTS & 10 REB),  the Johnnies tallied 92 points and won in convincing fashion. Posh Alexander chipped  in 21 points that afternoon, while Rasheem Dunn notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists. The win against Providence was the last win of St. John’s 6-game win streak that ended a few days later against Butler.

It has been nearly three months since we last took on Seton Hall.  On December 11th we traveled to Newark for our first Big East regular season game and suffered a nine-point loss to the Pirates. Sandro Mamukelashvili led the way for Seton Hall that night as he scored a career high 32-points and also grabbed 9 rebounds. Stopping him was nearly impossible that night and I am sure that has to be the focus for Mike Anderson this coming Saturday. Like I said before, both of these games are extremely winnable. The last time we took on Seton Hall we hadn’t yet discovered our identity. Posh Alexander only had six points and zero assists that night, we all know a performance like that won’t happen again. The Johnnies look much different now then they did back in December and I’m confident we can take it to them this Saturday.

The Big East Tournament

In my opinion, winning two games in the Big East Tournament would put us back in the conversation with the Bubble teams for the tournament. If we can somehow put a run together and manage to get to the final game, then I think we are in. Now, I know this might sounds like a big stretch, but try and be a believer with me here for a second. On February 3rd, we proved that we can beat anyone in this league when we beat down Villanova for the entire 40 minutes. IF (and this is a big if) we can string together a couple of performances like that one down the stretch, we can and we will make some noise this season.

It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings. We ride.

Big East Tournament Bracket

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Congrats Coach Anderson on 400 Career Wins!

Making History

Last night’s win marked Coach Anderson’s 400th career win as an NCAAM head coach. It also clinched yet another winning season for him, making it nineteen seasons straight. He is just one of four D-1 coaches with 15+ years of experience who can say this. Let’s take a look back at what was happening during Coach Anderson’s first career season as a head coach in 2002:

  • The first Spider-Man was released in theaters.
  • Eminem’s The Eminem Show was the biggest selling album of the year.
  • Apple released its second generation iPod.
  • Kelly Clarkson won the very first season of American Idol.

Nearly two decades of winning basketball at multiple high major programs is incredible. Congratulations again to Coach Anderson on making history.

Player of the Game

At this point it’s almost an automatic to choose Posh or Julian as player of the game on any given night. They could have been co-players of the game last night again, but someone else stuck out to me as a massive X-factor in this one.

Marcellus Earlington was a massive spark off of the bench for us last night. He scored 16 points and pulled down 9 rebounds (team high), coming up clutch all night long. To me, this team has two X-factors. Marcellus Earlington and Vince Cole. While Cole struggled last night, Marcellus more than made up for it. If Cellus can string a few games like this together, we are going to be in great shape for a tournament push.

Dynamic Duo

You really can’t recap any game without dedicating an entire section of the article to our star freshman point guard, Posh Alexander. Last night Posh left it all on the floor (as he always does) and gave Xavier hell for forty minutes. In the midst of a huge victory it seemed like this got slept on last night:

I have no doubt that Posh will secure a triple-double at some point in his tenure at St. John’s. He did it all last night and not just offensively. To go along with his near triple-double performance, he also added three steals. He currently sits at seventh in that nation in that category.

It’s hard to talk about Posh without mentioning his partner in crime, Julian Champagnie. These two have developed unbreakable chemistry on the court and it is a special thing to watch. They connected for a pair of highlight alley oops last night that got everyone out of their seats.

Champagnie led the way in the scoring column last night. He tallied 21 points on a variety of shots and also went 7-7 from the free throw line. On the year, Julian is shooting 45% from the field, 42% from beyond the arc, and 87.5% from the free throw line. Outstanding numbers especially for someone who shoots at a high volume.

Game Highlights

It doesn’t get any more Posh than this. He basically just takes the ball from the Xavier guard and lays it in for an easy deuce.
Isaih Moore came to play yesterday. He has made highlight reel dunks in almost every game recently. He scored 11 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in the win last night.
Rasheem Dunn was impressive last night. The senior guard dropped a cool 17 points. He hit several big shots last night including the dagger with 1:30 remaining(above).
Okay just one more Posh highlight. I had to include this one because its not your traditional Posh Alexander play. This play was eye opening to me because it showed his confidence shooting the ball. He had struggled in the first half with his jump shot, but early in the second half he showed no signs of worry as he stared the defender in the eyes and drained this three. Badass.

Tournament Talk

Okay, so the tournament seems to be all anyone is worried about this time of year. The way I understand it is, for us to find ourselves in the bracket we have to finish out the rest of the season 3-1 at the minimum. The only loss being to Villanova. The three must win games are DePaul, Providence, and Seton Hall. Essentially, we control our own destiny. In my eyes, if we win those 3 games and win one in the Big East tournament there is no way they can keep us out of the bracket.

Box Score

StartersREBASTSTLBLKTOPTS
Roberts110000
Champagnie5110021
Cole400103
Alexander8930015
Dunn3410517
Bench
Moore5 1 00011
Earlington0200216
Wusu230042
Williams130108

Bet the Trend

St. John’s improves to 6-0 ATS in the last 6 games played at Carnesecca. Shoutout to anyone who tailed this pick.

Hopefully St. John’s can keep up their winning ways with a huge game on Saturday vs. DePaul.

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A Storm is Coming: Upset Win vs. #3 Villanova

40 Minutes of Hell

The boys are absolutely buzzing right now and there is no slowing us down. Posh Alexander led the charge last night, taking down #3 Villanova and putting St. John’s in the national headlines. What else is there to say besides, what a damn game!

Villanova runs like a machine. St. John’s overly aggressive style of defense last night proved to be a stick in the gear and they shut the machine down.  Villanova averages just 8 turnovers a game. Last night, the Johnnies turned them over 17 times. Major credit to Mike Anderson for sticking with his style and continuing to prove that it can work against even the best teams in the country. 

After beating #23 UConn back on January 18th Posh Alexander said in a post game press conference that, “I personally feel like we can beat anybody.” Boy was he right. The Johnnies continue to string together win after win, improving their winning streak to 5 games. 

The most impressive thing about last night’s game was St. John’s ability to hold onto a lead throughout the entire game.  For anyone watching you were probably expecting a big run from Villanova at some point in the 2nd half, but it never happened. The Johnnies pretty much held a steady 10-point advantage for the entire second half of this one.  They kept hammering, never letting off the gas, and put the nail in the coffin for Jay Wright’s Wildcats. Dare I say…we dominated Villanova?

This win moved us up to 67 in the NET rankings. And it puts us in serious consideration for the NCAA tournament.

Impact Players

Posh Alexander – King of NY

This tweet just about sums it up. Last night Posh Alexander scored 16 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, tallied 4 assists, and stole the ball 3 times. Incredible numbers but that wasn’t even the most impressive part of his game. Posh was matched up on Collin Gillespie, a preseason second team All-American point guard for Villanova, and he outplayed him every second of the game. Posh held Gillespie to 4 points while shooting 2-12 from the field and 0-8 from beyond the arc. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Posh Alexander is the catalyst for this team. He is the motor.

Adding a 3-point shot to his game opened so much for him and you have to love the confidence he is playing with right now. He is the man on campus and it seems as if he is beginning to realize that. This team will go as for as he can take them.

Julian Champagnie

It seems like there is a section about Julian in just about every post game article that we do. He is Mr. Consistent. After failing to score for the entire first half, he completely flipped the script in the second. He ended up with a double-double (14 PTS and 13 REB) and he also blocked 3 shots. He called his performance and “off day” on instagram (see above) and in a post game press conference. I wish my “off day” was a double-double against the third ranked team in the country. Julian hit a couple of vital 3’s down the stretch in this one and was a big help in preserving the lead in the second half.

After the game he did an interview with Andy Katz, host for @MarchMadness.

Dylan Addae-Wusu, The Spark We Needed

This young man has continually grown more and more on St. John’s fans since opening night this season.  He came off the bench and scored 9 points last night including two 3-pointers, grabbed 4 boards and locked down whoever he was assigned to on the defensive end. His role on this team can not be overlooked and I think more people every game are seeing how important he is. He played incredible defense, has no hesitation on the floor, isn’t afraid to let it fly, and attacks the basket hard. Oh and did I mention he is only a freshmen? The kid is an absolute stud and is improving every game. We are a better team when Dylan is on the floor.

Highlight Plays

GET OUT THE WAY. Greg Williams Jr. throws it down with authority in his first game back from injury. Unfortunately, the 4 minutes he played in the first half was all that he would play in this one, as his back continues to be a problem.
A Julian Champagnie block leads to an easy lay-in on the other end. Look at that ball movement.
Vince Cole has been feeling himself lately and honestly he’s been the X-factor. When he is hitting from deep this team is dangerous. At the beginning of this season things were looking bleak for the JUCO transfer. Recently he has had a big part in all the success.
Everytime Posh has a clear lane to the hoop a get out of my chair in hopes for a windmill. One of these times it’ll happen. Nonetheless was great to see he take off and throw one down coming off a great steal.

Box Score

StartersREBASTSTLBLKTOPTS
Roberts300012
Cole0000012
Champagnie13003214
Alexander4630416
Dunn531055
Bench
Moore611118
Earlington312292
Addae-Wusu421109
McGriff000000
Williams Jr. 010002

Gambling Results

WE ONLY GIVE LOCKS

Y’all should start tailing the picks ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

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Johnnies Top DePaul for Third Straight Win

Game Recap

So we have this thing going on right now, it’s called a winning streak. Last night we secured our third straight victory, improving our overall record to 10-7 and our Big East Record to 4-6.  We have won four of our last five games and Coach Anderson has this team clicking on all cylinders. Last night was one of those rare St. John’s games where we were the clear-cut better team for the entire 40 minutes. 

Posh Alexander, Julian Champagnie, Isaih Moore, and Vince Cole all scored in double figures last night vs. DePaul. Cole led the way with 18, including three 3-pointers.  Champagnie scored 16 and also hit three 3-pointers.  Posh Alexander and Isaih Moore made impacts on both ends of the court; they each scored 15 points and tallied 3 steals. 

Vince Cole for three.

Posh Alexander continues to impress on a nightly basis and is the proven catalyst for the Johnnies. He executes Mike Anderson’s “40 minutes of hell” style to perfection. The rookie guard plays over 30 minutes a night and plays with the same fierce energy for the entire time. Posh leads the Big East and is 11th in the nation in steals with 2.53 STPG. Last week he was named Big East Rookie of the Week and MET Player of the Week and he is setting himself up for another shot at those awards yet again. 

Julian Champagnie continued his ultra-consistent play last night and is looking more and more like an NBA talent everytime I watch him play. After an early ankle injury scare, he came back into the game and didn’t miss a beat. He finished an incredible lob from Posh with a highlight dunk, banged home threes and hit the mid-range jumper in a 16-point effort. Julian said at the beginning of this season that he wanted to be a leader for this team, and he really embraced that role. He leads the Big East in scoring at 19.7 PPG. 

My vote for Big East Player of the Year: Julian Champagnie. 

Champagnie step-back three.

Rasheem Dunn’s 9 assists (career high) last night seemed to have flown under the radar for some reason. Dunn did a phenomenal job of penetrating and dishing and keeping the ball moving on offense. This year’s team has more offensive talent than last years, which has meant less scoring opportunities for Dunn. With that said, he is impacting the game in other ways and is playing a major role night in and night out.

Play of the Game

All the Alley-Oops and 3-pointers in yesterdays game made it hard for me to choose just one as the play of the game. However, this play stuck out to me as a clear winner.

Unselfish Basketball. Give and Go. AHHHHH Gimme that.

DePaul was still sticking around at this point in the game (and they kept it relatively close for awhile after this), but this play just about recaps how this game went. Posh Alexander and Isaih Moore both played their tails off last night and when you go hard for 40-min, you get rewarded with highlights like this. Relentless defense in the backcourt leading to a Moore dunk (one of many).

Lob-City

Last night we turned Chicago into lob-city. It seemed like there was an alley-oop every few minutes last night and I loved every second of it.

Posh hits Julian with a lob on a back-door cut.
Moore. GIVE ME MOORE.
Wusu splits the D, makes the dish to Moore.

Box Score

StartersREBASTSTLBLKTOPTS
Roberts710202
Champagnie6101316
Cole3100118
Alexander6530215
Dunn491017
Bench
Moore2031215
Earlington300022
Toro000010
Addae-Wusu320006
McGriff110000

Gambling Results

This is democracy. When 64.2% of people say that the Johnnies will cover the spread, that means the Johnnies are covering the spread. An anonymous member of the Barstool team hit big with this Johnnies win last night.

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Renewing the Rivalry: Big Win vs. #23 UConn

First Win in Storrs Since 2000

Yesterday afternoon, for the first time since 2000, we beat UConn in Storrs. This game was so important for so many different reasons.  Coach Anderson, who prior to this game only had one Big East road win on his resume, coached this team through an incredible 40 minutes of basketball against a nationally ranked team on their home floor. 

This win solidifies for himself that what he is building at St. John’s is working and that this team is moving in the right direction. Winning a game on national television against a ranked opponent, who also happens to be a rival, is also going to give our players a big boost of confidence as we head into the final 10 games of the season. This game gives us the opportunity to turn the tide of this season and put St. John’s Men’s Basketball back on the map.  

Game Recap

St. John’s fell behind 21-7 early on in the first half, but they relentlessly fought back throughout the rest of the half and brought it to within three points headed into the break. 

In the second half, Marcellus Earlington was unstoppable. Marcellus hit 3 threes on three attempts, all coming amidst the second half comeback. The way he played yesterday was similar to the way he looked at the end of last season: shooting confidently, playing within himself, and playing winning basketball. Marcellus finished with 15 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes, hopefully earning himself more playing time going forward. 

Freshmen playing like seniors: Posh Alexander and Dylan Wusu played their best games of the season yesterday and this win wouldn’t have happened without them. I’ll start with Dylan, who played 28 minutes off the bench and chipped in 10 points, pulled down 5 rebounds, and tallied a pair of steals and assists. While he did register a solid stat line, his impact on this game goes far beyond the stat sheet. Wusu adds muscle for the Red Storm when he is on the floor and his hustle plays make major impacts on games, especially yesterday’s. His freshmen counterpart, Posh Alexander, played out of his damn mind yesterday. Posh hit 3 threes (career high) in an 18-point scoring effort. He stuffed the stat sheet: 18 PTS, 6 AST, 4 REB, 3 STL, 1 BLK. He played 36 minutes with the same energy the entire time. I swear this guy never gets tired. To make all of this even more impressive, we found out after the game that he didn’t practice on Sunday because his hip has been bothering him. This is the kind of guy we want in this program: a fighter. 

Post Game Interview with Posh Alexander:

Absolute badass. Let’s get it Posh.  

Game Highlights

Full-court dime from Posh to Wusu. The chemistry between these two is unbelievable. They are going to be a special duo for us.

Our boy Marcellus made it rain at Gampel yesterday. Clutch rating 99.

When Posh’s name is called upon, he rises to the occasion. Posh never backs down from the big moment. The kid is an absolute beast with a never-ending motor and a special talent on the basketball court.

Box Score

StartersRebASTSTLBLKTOPTS
Roberts300106
Champagnie6112412
Alexander4631318
Williams Jr. (injured)000100
Dunn1220411
Bench
Moore100002
Earlington5100015
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What’s Next?

Unfortunately for us fans, we have to wait until January 27th to see our team take the floor again. On the 27th St. John’s will face off against DePaul (2-4) at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. This is a great opportunity for this team to snag another Big East win, which would give us 4 on the year. After the DePaul game we face UConn again, this time at Carnesseca, followed by another home game vs. Villanova.

Beating UConn twice will be no easy task, but I believe this team is up for the challenge. The Villanova game is a unique opportunity considering they’re a top-5 team in the nation, giving us a chance to shock the world. After Nova, we enter a stretch of games where I believe we must go 3-4 to accelerate ourselves up in standings, and give us a chance at the tournament. Those games include Providence, Butler, Xavier, and Marquette. We are on the road for all but the Xavier matchup, but these are all games that this team can and should win.

Time to build off of a massive victory against UConn, and keep the ball rolling into the most exciting part of the college basketball season.

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Barstool St. John's

Should We Stop Always Giving Coach Anderson a Free Pass?

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.

Recruting

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.