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Barstool St. John's

‘Just How Fast the Night Changes’: The Triumphant Return of New York’s Team

At the beginning of 2021, St. John’s basketball was showing signs of regression in the Big East play as they dropped two winnable games to Marquette and Georgetown and were blown out twice by Creighton.

Now, St. John’s is on the cusp of being a ranked team with ranked wins over UConn and Villanova. St. John’s has been on a six game win streak with 5 of those wins coming over Big East opponents. In this time period St. John’s has moved from the 9th spot in the Big East which would mean playing on night one of the Big East Tournament, to having the third most Big East wins and the sixth highest winning percentage among teams. To quote the hit single off One Direction’s fourth studio album, Four:

“Does it ever drive you crazy, just how fast the night changes.” 

The PC Friars got Smoked (then they came back to only get smoked again)

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There is no better feeling in the world than seeing that stupid Providence Friar mascot sad. He is a top-5 creepiest mascot in college basketball and he has a face that will make your mother question what B-movie horror film you are watching whenever he comes on the TV.

The Johnnies came to play on Sunday in a big way. It is hard to remember a stronger start by the Johnnies in the Mike Anderson Era. The team was white hot from 3 to begin the game, hitting 6 of their first 7 threes before slowing down the tempo in the second half. The Red Storm went from scoring 75 on non-power five teams like St. Peter’s to the point where the offense is playing with fire and desire as they shoot 58% from the field and 52.6% from three.

Are these 3-point numbers sustainable over a longer period of time? Well no, BUT St. John’s has shown in the past two games that it has reached another level as numerous players are improving at making their own shot on the perimeter. Alexander, Dunn, Moore and Earlington have all stepped their game up in the dog days of Big East play and the team is winning because of it. Secondary scoring is crucial to this team’s success during the dog days of Big East play and Wusu, Moore, Cole, Dunn and Earlington have all had moments where they changed the momentum of the game.

The most impressive part of St. John’s performance was the ability to reset after a time-out once Providence took the lead early in the second half. Dunn showed tremendous leadership among the young group down the stretch as he did all of the little things correctly in order to secure the victory. He was the best player of the second half, as the senior from Brooklyn dished out ten assists to secure a double-double. This performance was obviously something I would love to see Rah build upon in the future and it reminded me of the promise the transfer showed last winter. Champagnie slowed down after a white hot start but secondary scoring was able to help secure the victory. 

Walking Back A Bad Take

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Mike Anderson telling Barstool St. John’s to slow their role and shut their mouth

We released an article once with a bad headline. Have y’all heard about this? We compared some of the shortcomings this year’s early season to the lows of the Mullin Era. A lot of people may have misinterpreted the article as a call for Anderson’s removal as coach which was not the case for anyone who actually read the article. The article more or less was designed to evoke a question and discussion on whether the program was on the right track. Anderson answered the question with an emphatic yes through high level coaching over the past two weeks. This take came out way too soon and we wanted to just apologize for being overly critical of Iron Mike. I lived through the Mullin Era and it sucked and there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

Mike Anderson is like a father figure for this program and much like everyone’s real life father, it is easy to be reactionary and overly critical about the little things. The early season losses were like Poppa Anderson waking up at 6 AM before work and deciding to power wash the house which forces the family to wake up in a grumpy mood. He didn’t have bad intentions and was acting in the best interests of the family in the long run as a spotless clean house would be awesome. Now that the house is washed and everything is in order, Anderson is rewarding the SJUBB family with a resort trip to Cabo or taking us to Disney World which can be seen in our 6-game win streak. When things start going good, we are grateful for this trip and regret being mad about the little things. We love Iron Mike and are buying all the stock in $AndersonCoin but we just wanted to take a minute to walk back one of our worst takes.

40 Minutes of Hell

With that being said, Mike Anderson has transformed into being a dark horse candidate for Big East Coach of the Year. If Anderson is able to continue to coach the team at a .700 winning percentage down the stretch which is easily achievable, the team will finish top 4 in the Big East after a slow start. A narrative can even develop about Anderson utilizing the Covid stoppage in the season as a way to get back to basics and further instill his 40 minutes of hell style on players who were just entering his program for the first time like Cole, Wusu, Posh and Moore. Coach of the year does not always go to the coach of the best program, it is a narrative based award and Anderson can be rewarded for the low expectations set by college basketball writers at the beginning of the season.

Here is how the season would have to play out for Andererson to have a real shot at coach of the year:

W @ Butler

W vs Xavier 

W @ Marquette

W vs Depaul

L @ Villanova

W vs Providence

W vs Seton Hall

W vs UConn ( if the make-up game happens)

This continuation of St. John’s winning form may seem unlikely but any combination of 5 or 6 of these 7 wins would elevate a team projected to finish bottom 4 in the Big East into the top 5 and a lot of the credit deserves to go to Anderson’s full court pressing scheme which has created a transition offence all season. The front runner should deservedly be Greg McDermott as his team has been an absolute weapon all season but Anderson’s case with a mostly new roster would be compelling to voters if this scenario plays out

Way Too Early: Should they stay or should they go?

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“I ain’t never seen two pretty best friends until…”

Posh Alexander and Julian Champagnie look like players who have serious potential to ascend to the next level. Some people have begun to ask whether Champagnie, the leading scorer in the Big East, is ready for professional ball. I wanted to just take a second and address that both of these players would be better suited to stay an extra year at St. John’s based on the results from some of the past few Big East guards and forwards in the NBA. We will definitely come back and reassess closer to Draft time but the answer appears to be “Not Yet”.

Champagnie is dominant and his game. Julian will probably finish the year as an All-Big East First Team player and teams may see him as a value pick in the second round. Although there is still a ton of time left for Champagnie to improve his draft stock this season through a strong Big East Tournament performance, Julian should plan on staying another year with St. John’s program or entering the draft without an agent in order to feel out the NBA combine process. There are moments where Champagnie reminds me of Jason Tatum with his shotmaking ability but one more year of growth and development may allow him to enter the NBA as a rotational player rather than a long term developmental project. Bad NBA teams have a poor history of player development and moving on from previous projects to go chase the next big project in the NBA draft the next year. Champagnie would be better suited to go into the draft next year as a more finished product and two years of Big East dominance may establish him as a mid-late first round pick making much better money than a second rounder. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Posh should not go into the draft this year even without an agent. Alexander was a diamond in the rough with tons of untapped potential. There is no need to go to the combine as a freshman when Alexander can come back next season bigger and stronger. Posh Alexander has grown from being a two way threat who’s offence primarily came from playmaking and the transition to a two way weapon with a solid three pointer. He reminds me a little bit of a slightly improved model of the last two years of Kris Dunn at Providence. We know what happened to Kris Dunn in the NBA albeit his high draft pick set expectations way too high. We’ve seen various Big East stud point guards struggle to find playing time in recent years be it Dunn, Ponds, Howard or Arcidiacono. It would be preferable for Posh.0 to focus on his physical development to make the All-Big East First team and potentially be an All-American next year than focus on the potential of glory in the NBA. 

Preview/Drinking Game for Tonight against Butler:

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Get out of here you mutt.

On Saturday, I took a bullet for the #SJUBB community. I watched an entire Butler vs. DePaul basketball game. My reactions can be defined by the words YUCK and STINKY! Without three players, Butler struggled to find much offense outside Bryce Nze and Chuck Harris. If St. John’s can scheme around these players and force the rest of Butler to beat us, we have a solid shot at picking up a relatively relaxed victory tonight against this Butler group. Butler is favored right now at -3 but I would take the Johnnies to continue their run of form and win outright on the road.

Here is tonight’s Drinking Game for St. John’s vs Butler on FS1:

Take a sip once everytime Posh Alexander is referred to as Swanky P

Take two sips everytime Marcellus Earlington’s football background in mentioned

Take three sips if Posh and Wusu’s high school team is shown

Take four sips if St. John’s allows a run of 8 points or more when they have a lead

Finish your drink when St. John’s wins

Let’s Go Red Storm

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Barstool St. John's

Lessons and Reactions: Losing a frustrating game to BYU

Recap:

St. John’s is no longer undefeated as the boys in red dropped their first game of the season to BYU 74-68 tonight. It was certainly a game of runs where both team exchanged momentum but a few key misses prevented St. John’s from pulling off the comeback. Another excellent Julian Champagnie performance was wasted as the team could not find a consistent second scoring option tonight.

Highlights:

  • Player of the Game
    • Julian Champagnie came back this season looking like he wants to play in the NBA. He continues to get better every single game as he grows more comfortable against high level talent. He was unreal tonight and Julian was the primary focus of our offense as well as solid defensively. He is beginning to remind me of peak LJ Traitor-oa except a more fundamental sound jump shot. I am loving everything Julian is doing and I am super excited to see him lead the way the rest of the year. This team will go as far as he takes us.
  • Growth from Wusu
    • Dylan Addae Wusu played really well tonight. He fouled out at the end of the game but he was exerting constant pressure on the press and locking up double teams. He put up a pretty efficient 8 points on 3-5 shooting. Wusu and Posh showed a really good connection on a few fast breaks and it is a sign of things to come later this season and next year as both players physically mature. It’s really cool to see growth from this young man.
  • BYU is a good team
    • People are saying the West Coast Conference is catching up to the Pac-12 for west coast superiority and BYU looked like a solid basketball team tonight. Sometimes you get beat by the older team and more experienced team, tonight was one of those nights.
  • Not giving up / Defense 
    • The press is good especially from Greg, Wusu and Posh.You are going to win most games where you hold the other team to 68 points through 38 minutes of play and it was an encouraging performance from Andersons defense. In the second game where this team had to play from behind, the team came together well at the end to keep the game close. We just needed a second scorer tonight and it was nowhere to be found against a strong defensive opponent.
  • Isaiah Moore: Dr. Jekyll
    • I really like Isiah Moore as a basketball player. He was the second best offensive weapon for St. John’s tonight He is talented around the rim and I appreciate that he isn’t afraid to take the three. hasn’t looked lost during his first few games for the Red Storm. For most of the game, Moore was our second best player and he showed growth in his game. 

Lowlights:

  • Isiah Moore. Mr. Hyde
    • That being said: he made a few mistakes that might have cost St. John’s the game. The goaltending call with 5 minutes left was awful. The shot had clearly missed and was a foot above the backboard and Moore decided to slap it off the glass. There was no point to it and it was a big mistake. Moore also airballed a 3 down the stretch and missed the next 3 three’s he took after nailing the first one to open the game. They should find the bottom of the net eventually and it is good for Moore to be getting comfortable but a low leverage situation down 5 with three minutes left was not the best point of the game for experimenting. Moore is still developing and will play a key role down the stretch for this team but growing pains are setting in.
  • Missing Rah and Roberts
    • We needed a second scorer tonight as well as a spark plug off the bench. With Posh’s defensive work, we could see Rasheem Dunn come back to be that spark plug off the bench when he gets back until he is back to 100%. A consistent bench scorer and a leader for the second unit would be a great place for the Brooklyn guard. Hopefully he is healing from his concussion and he will be ready by the UConn game next week.
    • Also, did Josh Roberts fuck one of the graduate assistant’s girlfriend? There is no reason for him not to be getting second center minutes at this point in the season especially after a strong end of the year last season.
  • Cole greenlight turning yellow?
    • Well that was frustrating. Vincent Cole is awesome and fits well into a starting role in Mike Anderson’s system. He is unpredictable in his offensive movements and it is hard for defenders to keep up with his match of speed and balance with the ball. He can create his own shot and he has played really well through the first few games of the season but tonight was rough. He was 0-2 from 3 and missed a big shot down the stretch. He’ll snap out of it but he may be less knockdown than we thought. Hope he proves me wrong.
  • Reaching for steals, allowing easy conversions on 3’s
    • I’m never going to fault defensive effort but three times tonight on ball pressure lead to a smart pass and a wide open three. This is frustrating but it is a flaw in CMA’s system. Off-ball defenders need more active feet and an eye for the play around them when a player is drawing a double team. I would like to see this improve over the rest of the season.
  • Toro needs to be better
    • We need more Toro to be a more consistent strong presence in the paint. Over the first four games, he hasn’t hauled in rebounds, which is reason we brought him in. This seems like a mental thing and hopefully he can turn it around with a big performance against Stony Brook. He is beginning to look like Sedee Keita which is becoming concerning.

Play of the game:

More great defensive work from Posh. In his weakest offensive performance of the season, the freshman made up for it on the defensive end.

Close-outs

  • Beating up Stony and Rider
    • We are about to play two bad basketball teams before going into Big East play next week. We need two wins and to work out a few of the kinks that came up tonight, in the closing minutes of the Boston College game and against Saint Peter’s. We need two double digit wins in the next two games and I think we should see some of our best played basketball yet. Tonight can be a valuable teaching moment for Iron Mike and it can translate this team into a well oiled machine just in time for the start of Big East season.
  • Farewell Mohegan Sun
    • This is a cursed building for us. We never perform our best at Mohegan Sun and I can’t wait for us to get home every game we play here. St. John’s went 1-1 in bubbleville and most people expected this result but with Texas Tech instead of BYU. We aren’t going to win every game and hopefully the boys can get their swagger back against Stony Brook (Sunday) and Rider (Tuesday) so we can kick UConn’s ass next Friday. Until then, we’ll take our loss tonight but big things are coming from the Red Storm.
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Barstool St. John's

5 Days Until the Storm: Dylan Addae-Wusu Player Profile

You might not have expected much Dylan Addae-Wusu talk on the blog today. Hell this might be your first time hearing about Wusu and that’s okay.

People have been sleeping on the freshman guard from the Bronx for far too long and it is time to stop. Wusu is similar to the Michael B. Jordan character in NBA 2k17 as he was slept on at the high school level but he can really hoop in the same backcourt as Posh Alexander. The last name Wusu is also absolutely tremendous. You can already hear St. John’s fans at Carnesecca or Madison Square Garden screaming “WUUUUUUUUUUUUUSUUUUU” in the back of your head as the freshman guard is poised to be an impact player at St. John’s in the near future and a major piece of the puzzle for Mike Anderson going forward.

Addae-Wusu’s Game:

Wusu’s tape makes him seem to be a slashing and scoring guard. It is difficult to keep track of exact stats as Wusu played across multiple levels of competition but the 3 star guard seems to be relatively well rounded. He received offers from noted college basketball powerhouse UMass (in the late 90’s…look it up I’m not kidding, UMass was coached by John Calapari and really good at basketball for a few years that technically don’t exist anymore because of paying players) and a local school in Wagner. Wusu is a powerful guard with strong playmaking abilities.

Wusu’s game has been described by the Recruit the Bronx website as “He has plenty of energy, explosion and athleticism in his game. Has a lot of quickness in his game and loves to run on the fast break. When going up to the basket, he takes a lot of strong drives to the hole. He also has the ability to rebound in the low post.” When looking at Wusu, you can see he is a strong guy. He has a wide frame and wingspan which are good traits that will help him transition to the difficult matchups he will endure in the Big East. 

Relationship with Posh Alexander

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Wusu was Posh’s wingman at Our Saviour Lutheran and they dominated AAU together. The 3 star prospect began his high school career at Sacred Heart in Yonkers where he was third-team all state. Wusu averaged 22.8 points per game at Sacred Heart and Our Savior Lutheran was a powerhouse with Wusu and Posh as they won the Grind Session Championship Game as seniors. Wusu has be a strong friendship to the point guard Posh and this emotional connection could help Posh transition into the college game.

2020-21: Expectation vs Reality

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It’s going to be a real challenge to predict the immediate impact of Dylan Wusu. Wusu will not see much of the court in 2020. A player like Wusu would be helped by St. John’s usual weak non-conference schedule as we could see his potential in easy minutes but this year St. John’s schedule is much more difficult so it may be difficult for Wusu to get minute. St. John’s backcourt is also thoroughly fleshed out right now so it is going to be really hard to find meaningful minutes for Wusu. Hopefully Wusu had a strong showing during the preseason workout and will be able to play sheltered minutes this year.

The Future

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Wusu and Posh are the first high level recruits by Iron Mike and their games will be shaped by Anderson’s system. I really hope we get a few moments of Wusu and Posh together this season as this dynamic duo will be the future of the program going forward.

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Barstool St. John's

23 Days Until The Storm: David Caraher Player Profile

Today, we are beginning our player profiles for the 2020-2021 St. John’s Basketball season. The team at SJU Barstool is planning on writing profiles on the key players that will make or break the season under the second year of Head Coach Mike Anderson.

We are beginning the series 23 days before the season and there is no better player to look at with 23 days left than our close personal friend David Caraher (a.k.a. DC23, or White Lightning), as some vocal voices in the student section like to refer to the 6’6 205 pound shooting guard off the St. John’s bench.

DC23’s Tenure at St. John’s So Far

Caraher was one of the most interesting players on the St. John’s roster last year. Although his box score stats may seem pedestrian (4.3-2-1), the role playing shooting guard/small forward was one of only five players to play in all 32 games for St. John’s last year and the team won every game DC played well in. When the former Butler commit and HBU stud scored more than eight points, St. John’s was 8-0 and 3-0 in the Big East. This establishes the causation or correlation question that comes to mind when thinking about Caraher. Does Caraher play better when St. John’s is doing well or does St. John’s play better because Caraher is doing well? 

Caraher’s best performance was in the St. John’s comeback win over UMass at Mohegan Sun last in November. DC was 6/8 from the floor with 17 points. His best performance in the Big East was March 7th against Marquette. He was also very good in the March 1st win over top 10 Creighton as he went 4 of 6 from the field for 9 points. Seven of these points came in an explosive first half that set the tempo for the game.

With that being said, I tend to believe Caraher’s best contributions to the team come from momentum and energy as his best performances have come in high energy games that were very competitive. When St. John’s is playing well, Caraher seems more confident and this impacts his best attributes.

Offensive Intelligence

Caraher has some of the best spatial awareness of anyone on the St. John’s roster. This can be compounded with his smooth jump shot and competent defense to be his best attributes. He normally works around the perimeter but isn’t afraid to crash the boards which could be seen in his seven rebound affair against Mercer, and five rebounds against Butler on the road. He seems to have an important role in Anderson’s system as his work around the perimeter allows for the ball dominant players to slash or create their own shot. Caraher is better off the ball than on the ball which is not a slight on the player as he is able to have a shot created for him by screens. I think Caraher would work best in a floppy set where multiple big men are setting designed screens to get DC open. It is also important to note Caraher was a net positive on the defensive side of the ball and this can be further improved in Anderson’s system as DC has more exposure to Big East competition and he is now a year older and a year stronger. 

Houston Baptist and Shooting

The key criticism of David Caraher is that he shot 25.0 percent from 3 last season. It is simply not good enough. While this was not great, it is important to remember that this was his first season against Big East competition and the strength of schedule at St. John’s is much more difficult than Houston Baptist, where DC shot 36.4% this season. DC is taking intelligent shots but for one reason or another, his efficient shot taking and decision making is not being maximized at St. John’s. His overall shooting percentage was pretty good and ranked high among Big East rookies at 40.3%.

I think the biggest factor to DC’s game this year will be the lack of fans in the bubble season. In the NBA, we witnessed three point shooting percentages go way up in the bubble as there were less distractions and shooters had an advantage. For a team with far less fans at every game than St. John’s 2019-20 schedule, Caraher was a lights out shooter at 45.5% from the field and 36.4% from three. I think this factor can really help Caraher’s confidence this season. An important stat to look at is Caraher’s shooting efficiency numbers which were really good at Houston Baptist but took a dip in his rookie year at St. John’s. On a team that allowed Caraher to take 154 3 pointers, DC was the most efficient player on the roster so this green light could have affected his confidence. If Caraher can be more efficient in this environment, he can be a key piece on St. John’s bench and be one of the best second unit shooting guards in the Big East.

Expectations vs. Reality

As St. John’s fans, there is obviously going to be a bias towards our own players so to predict DC’s 2020-21 season. It will be crucial to use two different lenses to project DC’s season. I think regardless of the result, Caraher will be better in 2020-21 with a possible bubble season. Bubbles have had a positive trend for efficient shooters and Caraher’s game should show improvements with the lack of fans in a potential bubble. Our optimistic prediction for Caraher is 10.2-4.4-2.1 on 44% shooting and 38% from three.The improvement’s to St. John’s roster can help Caraher’s confidence as he will get a good amount of playing time with Dunn or Posh. Both of these players have slashing capabilities which can draw a second defender which can leave DC open for an intelligent shot.

It is on Caraher to ensure these shots go in but in a bubble season, it looks more likely than not that Caraher’s shot will improve. If Caraher is playing to this project, St. John’s final win projection can increase by 3 or 4 games. 

In a more cynical sense Caraher can show slight improvements and be a 6.8-2.5-1.2 player on around 42.1% from the floor and 32% from three. This result can stem from a lack of minutes with some tremendous new guard depth coming in through Posh, McGriff and Cole. This lack of minutes could have a negative effect on Caraher’s confidence and lead to poorer shooting. Overally, DC is definitely an interesting player and a key player off St. John’s bench this season and we are extremely excited to see his development after a strong end to the 2019-20 season.

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Barstool St. John's

The Most Clutch Players in SJU History: Wrong Answers Only

This afternoon, we asked fellow Red Storm fans for their takes on the most clutch players in the history of this historic basketball team with the caveat that we were looking for wrong answers only. Our replies blew up immediately so I think it is time for us to take a deep dive on some of the players you wanted nowhere near the ball in the second half but you got a pleasant surprise.

Players in consideration:

Durand Johnson

In a game where SJU was trailing to America’s future darling UMBC, Durand Johnson stepped up for the boys and absolutely balled out in the second half. An absolute king helped St. John’s get a pivotal win in a season where every win counted as the Red Storm made the Tournament.

Elijah Holifield

Today, the SJU Barstool account made a new close personal friend by the name of Elijah Holifield. When I saw this reply in our mentions, the name sounded relatively familiar but I could not put the name to the face. Our new friend Elijah attached a GIF of an absolute bucket he hit against Fordham during the 2016-17 season. One may ask why this GIF exists but we are proud of our new friend Elijah and we can rule him out for least clutch player in recent SJUBB history.

Dishonorable mentions:

LJ Figueroa

Our former king LJ deserves recognition on this list. We don’t want to get too salty about the former king of Queens leaving us this season but can you remember a streakier shooter in SJUBB history> It feels unfair to people with actual jump shots to consider LJ a shooter because he would often chuck the ball at the rim leaving everyone to wonder if Figueroa had ever worked with a shot coach in his life. LJ was a notoriously streaky shooter with a tendency to get cold down the stretch which killed St. John’s in many close games over the past two years.

Max Hooper

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Stinky!

Max Hooper spent one season at St. John’s University and oh baby was it memorable. Hooper played a cool 9 minutes a night with 3.2 points per game. The reason for Hooper’s entry on this list is his home performance against Providence in 2014. Mr. 3.2 points per game felt like it was his moment. Hooper declared “It’s Max Hooper Time” as he missed a brutal three to lose this game in a season where every Big East game was important for the Red Storm as we narrowly missed the Tournament.

Let us know if you have any further suggestions and we can update the blog! Have a great day everybody and Go Red Storm!