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Rysheed Jordan to take indefinite leave of absence from St. John's basketball team

St John's Rysheed Jordan celebrates a slam. (Jan.

St John's Rysheed Jordan celebrates a slam. (Jan. 11, 2014) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Rysheed Jordan, St. John's second-leading scorer, has been given an indefinite leave of absence from the basketball program to deal with "personal and family'' matters, according to a statement from the school.

The move comes in the aftermath of a New Year's Eve loss suffered by the 15th-ranked Red Storm (11-2) in its Big East opener at Seton Hall. Jordan will not be with the team when St. John's faces Butler Saturday afternoon at Carnesecca Arena, and the combination of the statement and Jordan's history suggests the situation could have a more long-term impact on the program.

"Rysheed will take an indefinite leave of absence from our basketball program and will not be with the team as he focuses his attention on personal and family circumstances," St. John's coach Steve Lavin said in the statement.

Although Jordan is averaging 14.0 points per game, he was dropped from the starting lineup in December and replaced by Jamal Branch after committing nine turnovers in a loss to Gonzaga. Jordan's ratio of 35 assists to 40 turnovers is substandard for a player identified by many as a potential NBA pro, and his 30.0 percent shooting from three-point range and 58.8 percent free-throw shooting also are indications that he is not ready for the pros.

There have been times in the past when Jordan either served a one-game suspension imposed by Lavin or was permitted to go home for family reasons for a game. This is the first time Jordan's absence formally has been characterized by the school as an "indefinite leave."

Asked if he could provide any further context, a St. John's spokesman said, "The statement says it all. It's indefinite."

There has been no official word to indicate a disciplinary component, but Lavin did not hesitate to suspend leading scorer D'Angelo Harrison for disciplinary reasons for the final four regular-season games of the 2012-13 season when the Red Storm still was in contention for an NCAA berth.

Without Jordan, St. John's has no one beyond the starting five on its roster who is averaging even six minutes or two points per game.

Four of the five starters are seniors, meaning Lavin already faced an uphill battle to fill his roster next season. If Jordan does not return, the challenge will grow even more difficult. At the moment, only Philadelphia guard Samir Doughty has given Lavin a verbal commitment.

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