I think these guys have the potential to be a Top 10 team next year. The recruiting class they got this year was outstanding and just look at what they have going forward. Assuming none of their players leave for the draft (Harkless is really the only one with a chance) they will lose no one.
They start five freshman and obviously they will only get better. Moe Harkless and D'Angelo Harrison are two of the best scorers in the conference averaging 17 and 15 ppg respectively. Guard Phil Greene over the 2nd half of the season has averaged roughly 10 ppg 3 rpg and 4 apg. Forward Amir Garrett's last 6 games he has averaged 11 and 6. Sir'Dominic Pointer is another freshman who has gotten significant playing team this year and Junior God'sgift Achiuwa has averaged 9 and 5.
Saint John's really only plays 6 guys most of the time, but next year could be different. They get 3 star guard Jamal Branch coming in next year with a few others considering including JC Jakarr Sampson, who was ruled ineligible this year. A few other freshman who haven't been given minutes in Gerard Rivers, Sam Sealy and Anteh Ayree could be given more of a role.
They have only gone 13-18 this year including 6-12 in the Big East, but ten losses came against ranked teams. Not to mention two key players left in the middle of the season. Next year they should be distraction free and these guys have a chance to be really good, especially if no one leaves next year and they get these guys back as juniors (although that's looking way too far ahead).
I know he committed last year, but I think he was still wide open. I think they have some intriguing young prospects, in particular Moe Harkless, but I find calling them a top 10 team under current circumstances is a bit extreme. The only real big they have is God's Gift, who started off really well but slowed down as the year progressed. They are kind of small and have no real PG, though I have heard Branch could help in that department.
St. John's caught some tough breaks this year, with Lavin having his health issues and all. If he comes back next year I think they should improve. Still, while Harkless, Harrison, Pointer and Greene have all been solid as freshmen, but Amir Garrett came in late and they lost Norvel Pelle (who was a PF/C), Nurideen Lindsey (who transferred) and Sampson is no guarantee to be part of the Red Storm.
They may be in the running for some other recruits due to openings, but they also lost out on the Kyle Anderson sweep stakes when he was supposedly a St. John's lean at one point. Lavin was saying that he has been able to do quite a bit of recruiting, but they still only have Branch as they ended up losing Ricardo Gathers to Baylor. Gathers would have been huge for them inside, even as a undersized 4 he is tough.
That lack of toughness in the post (at least at this point) is why I have a hard time seeing St. John's as a top 10 team next year. Their build-up reminds me of Memphis last season, only Memphis was of course better. Still, Memphis came in with huge hopes after giving Arizona a run for their money, with the problem being they lacked legitimate size and ability in the post. Will Barton averages 8 rebounds a game, but in an ideal world he would not have to. Same goes for Moe Harkless on this St. John's team. Plus, if Harkless leaves for the pro's, which is a legit possibility, they better hope they get someone big out of the HS or JUCO ranks to compete in the Big East.
Jakarr Sampson is considering Kanasas(frontrunner), Providence, St Johns, Florida and technically Baylor even though I think thats highly unlikely. And yes I think St Johns could be top 10 by the end of next year if their entire 6 man roster stays because they all got invaluable experience and playing time this year.
Good call on the Memphis comparison. I think they have the ability to be a Top 10 team, although they probably won't, I still think the future is very bright there.
Looks like Harkless is leaving, Jakarr Sampson has recommitted.