Expectations are low for St. John’s, at least according to the Big East coaches, who picked the Red Storm to finish 10th in the preseason poll released on Wednesday at the league’s media day.
The Red Storm returns a solid sophomore crew, led by Amir Garrett, Phil Greene, D’Angelo Harrison and Sir’Dominic Pointer.
“As one of the youngest teams in the nation, it's not surprising that many preseason polls and publications have St. John's listed between 10th and 15th in the league," Red Storm coach Steve Lavin told reporters. "At St. John's, our goals each season include competing for the BIG EAST Championship and participating in the NCAA Tournament. Most importantly, as a team, we aspire to be playing our best basketball in the month of March.”
St. John’s did suffer a hit with the loss of Moe Harkless, who left school after an outstanding freshman season for the NBA draft, but Lavin’s latest recruiting class should soften the blow.
Forwards JaKarr Sampson and Chris Obekpa and guards Christian Jones and Felix Balamou make up a recruiting class that ranked in the nation’s top 10, according to most publications. Add to that returning forward God’sgift Achiuwa and Texas A&M transfer Jamal Branch, who will be eligible on December 16, and the Red Storm could surprise.
Louisville was picked to finish first, followed by Syracuse, Notre Dame, Cincinnati and Georgetown. Louisville's Peyton Siva was tabbed as preseason player of the year and Steven Adams of Pittsburgh was picked to be preseason rookie of the year.
BIG EAST PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Louisville (14)
3. Notre Dame (1)
10. St. John's
14. Seton Hall
First-place votes in parentheses
2012-13 Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team
Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati, G, Jr., 6-4, 221, White Plains, N.Y.
Otto Porter, Georgetown, F, So., 6-8, 205, Sikeston, Mo.
Gorgui Dieng, Louisville, C, Jr., 6-10, 225, Dakar, Senegal
Jack Cooley, Notre Dame, F, Sr., 6-9, 244, Glenview, Ill.
Vincent Council, Providence, G, Sr., 6-2, 180, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut, G, Jr., 6-1, 171, Roxbury, Mass.
Cleveland Melvin, DePaul, F, Jr., 6-8, 208, Baltimore, Md.
D'Angelo Harrison, St. John's, G, So., 6-3, 202, Missouri City, Texas
Anthony Collins, USF, So., G, 6-1, 175, Houston, Texas
Brandon Triche, Syracuse, G, Sr., 6-4, 205, Jamesville, N.Y.
Chane Behanan, Louisville, F, So., 6-7, 250, Cincinnati, Ohio
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame, G, Jr., 6-5, 185, Bowie, Md.
Tray Woodall, Pittsburgh, G, Sr., 5-11, 190, Brooklyn, N.Y.
C.J. Fair, Syracuse, F, Jr., 6-8, 212, Baltimore