Watching popular St. John's senior swingman D.J. Kennedy hit the ground and grab his right kee during Thursday's 79-73 loss to Syracuse in a Big East quarterfinal was painful.
It was even worse watching him get helped off the court.
Red Storm forward Justin Brownlee took Kennedy’s injury hard, but is convinced his teammates will be up to the challenge of replacing him.
“Seeing him going down was tragic to us and hopefully his injury is not too bad,” said Brownlee, who had 15 points. “But we have a lot of guys who played big for us. If the injury is bad, that’s what we’re going to have to do.”
This St. John’s bunch, if anything, has been resilient. With nine seniors who have seemingly seen everything, there is optimism that the Red Storm will thrive regardless.
“I’m very impressed, but we’re kind of used to it,” senior guard Paris Horne said when asked about his team’s play after Kennedy left the game. “We figured once he went down, we just had to get someone else to step up.”
The Red Storm got solid contributions from several of its role players, including Sean Evans (11 points, 12 rebounds) and Justin Burrell (9 points, 5 rebounds).
As for the loss, Horne said the team won’t dwell on it.
“We’ll forget about it. Probably just today we’ll harp on it, but we don’t have time to worry about this loss,” said Horne. “Our mindset this season was to make the NCAA Tournament. We’ll regroup, fix a few things, look at tape to see what we have to do better and go from there.”
The prospect of not having Kennedy for an extended period will hurt, but it isn’t something the team can’t overcome, according to Horne.
“We’ve been through everything. We’ve been through the tough stretches,” he said. “We’ve been down and hurt and have come back. It hurts, but all it does is make you stronger.”
“I feel like we’re alright,” said Brownlee. “Like I said we have a lot of players who can step up and make big plays.”