Projecting Your College Team: St. John's

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Projecting Your College Team: St. John's

With college basketball season officially upon us abeit a couple days ago. I just wanted to do a feature on my favorite college basketball teams. I encourage any users to write about your favorite team as sort of a prediction and what to expect. St. John's brings back most of their pieces from the distarious 15-16 recod of 8-24 and 1-17 in conference play.

The only win they had in conference play was off a lowly DePaul team. Yet their is reason for optisim and hope in Queens. Coached by a NBA legend in Chris Mullin who I believe may not be much for a coach in terms of x's and o's but defiently somebody who is a play development guy and a good face for the program after the Steve Lavin Era. Mullin had a rough year mainly because he didnt inherit any players from Lavin and basiclly made the team from scratch. Yet the second year should be some more wins and more development in a strong group of freshmen of last year and new faces.

The team only lost 3 players from last years squad Durand Johnson, Felix Balamou, and Ron Mvouika. Johnson and Mvouika were graduate students and Balamou was a Senior. All three did have a impact on the court. Johnson was acrually the leading scorer on the team. Mvouika was most a three point specialist. Balamou was a athletic freak who at times could score on a drive, playmake, and was the best on ball defender on the team.

The players that the team gains this year are Shamorie Ponds, Bashir Ahmed, Tariq Owens, Richard Freudenberg, and Marcus Lovett. Ponds is a combo guard from Brookyln who was a top 40 player in his class. Ahmed was the second best JUCO player in the country orginally from the Bronx. Fruedenberg is one of the best players in his age group from Europe. Tariq Owens is transfer from Tennessee who is 6'11 pogo stick. Last but not least there is Marcus Lovett who was a patial qualifier last year but he is a shifty point guard who was allowed to practice so he should be a impact player.

I think the depth chart shakes out like this

PG: Marcus Lovett, Shamorie Ponds, Federico Mussini

SG: Malik Ellison, Shamorie Ponds, Mussini

SF: Bashir Ahmed, Richard Freudenberg

PF: Kassoum Yakwe, Amir Alibegovic, Darien Williams

C: Yankuba Sima, Tariq Owens

With this team having alot of sophomores and nice mix of new comers I expect a nice increase in the win total. Im sure Mullin who finally has players of his own that he will open up the bench and it might not be out of the question for him to run a 10 or 11 man rotation. I would now like to take a more in depth approach to the starters and bench players.

PG: Marcus Lovett RS FR: Lovett is a 6'0 175 pound ball handling dynamo. He posses a ball on a string handle. Im sure most of you have seen the ball is life video of him crossing up defender after defender either to finish at the hoop, pull up for a jumpshot, or kick it out to a teammate when a defense collapse on him. I believe he will do the same job for this St. John's team. I think he is the PG that we needed and missed last season because Mussini isnt a natural 1. Defensively I feel like he might get exposed by bigger guard but he does posess some quick hands where he can generate steals. He is for sure a front runner for big east freshmen of the year if they actually let him compete for the award.

SG: Malik Ellison SO: Ellison is somebody who I like alot just in terms of his versatility. I think he can play 3 positions on the college level being PG, SG, and SF. He is 6'6 215 which is good size and it seems like he has good length as well maybe in the 6'9 6'10 range. He was also frustrating to watch last year because he missed so many layups. Yet I think with him and alot of his teamsmates hitting the weightroom this summer. Those layups he missed will now become makes. What he did show was breakdown ability to even get in the lane and the ability to knock down shots when given space. Most would think Ponds would get the start here but I think Mullin would take the size advantage of Ellison over Ponds.

SF: Bashir Ahmed JR: Somebody who Im very interested in watching is Bashir Ahmed. He also goes by Bash. He is JUCO guy who most think will be the best player on this team. It all starts with his body. Standing 6'7 and listed at 210 but looking at pictures of him I feel like he might be more like 230. He is somewhat a bull in the china shop were if he gets the ball you either foul him or he is going through you. Yet his game isnt one dementional at all. He can also shoot it from deep. He shot something like 36 from three on the JUCO level. D1 is of course a different animal but I think he is still a good player. Him being older as well is good for the younger players.

PF: Kassoum Yakwe SO: Most people are very high on Kassoum Yakwe and whats not there to love about him. A 6'7 210 pogo stick who blocks shots with the best of them. Top 15 in the country and Number 1 in the Big East. He also shows alot of heart and determination to try and rebound despite his height for a 4 man. His size is more of a 3 but his game is for sure a power forward. He doesnt have much shooting range. Gets most of his points off dump offs at the basket and rolling to the basket off a pick. One could expect for him to take a leap and try and expand his offense and freethrow shooting because his defense and athletic gifts are already there.

C: Yankuba Sima SO: Sima is the best pro prosepct I think St. John's has. It all starts with size for Sima. He's 6'11 220 and very long. He suffered a injury midway through non conference play which derailed his play. When he came back he wasnt the same player. Yet he is a good shot blocker and decent offensive player compared to Chris Obekpa. He can play in the post even though he doesnt have neccesaary size yet and he can step out a little as well. Parts to work on him were being a better rebounder and more consistency to his overall game.


Shamorie Ponds FR CG: Ponds is as stated before a top 40 guard from Brooklyn who is a local guy. Which is a good start because Mullin would like to keep all the New York guys in state not Syracuse. What you get in Ponds is somebody who can put the ball in the basket he is 6'1 175. So hes not big by any means but his ability to do the same thing as Lovett almost except less passing because off the bench is role will be too score and handle ball handling duties. I think he will be a impact player even playing a off the bench role possibly a starter as well.

Federico Mussini SO CG: Mussini is another combo guard but take that with a grain of salt he is more 2 than 1. Mainly because he doesnt handle the ball that well and doesnt really look to make plays for other. Also his small size at 6'2 170. He is more sure somebody who will be better seerved playing off the ball and having others make plays for him then the other way around. He likes to play like Steph Curry but doesnt have the shooting ability or handles to do what Steph does. But he can have value as a three point specialist or just shot maker in general.

Richard Freudenberg FR CF: The reports out of Queens over the summer make me excited to watch this German import. He stands 6'9 210 with good size to be a combo forward and even play some 2. He is somebody who is very athletic and has ability to make shots and play defense with his size. People who have watched St. John's practices say he reminds them of Gordan Hayward or Chandler Parson which is high expectations but when I do watch his game I do somewhat see where those comparisions come from.

Amar Alibegovic JR PF/C: Amar was the hero of the game agaisnt Syracuse where he dropped 15 and 9 and picked up a win. Yet his St. John's career has been a mixed bag at this point. He came in as somebody who could be a stretch big at 6'9 240. Yet he never shot the ball that well. He was also somebody who you wish would throw his weight around more at 240 yet he seems to want to just hang around the 3 point line. Im hoping this year he just shows more willingness to mix it up in the paint and defensively.

Tariq Owens RS SO PF/C: Owens is a transfer from Tennessee who is a pogo stick because he stands 6'11 200 pounds. His weight is very low for a big man especially in the big east. I think until he bulks up he is a project. Unless he can really shoot the ball like Chris Boucher from Oregon. Or even if he shows willingness to battle for boards and hold position defensively. What he can do is jump and block shots though and even throw down a couple highlight real dunks.

Darien Williams SR PF/SF: Williams was somebody who was supposed to come in and play a role in 15-16 but a shoulder injury took him for all but 3 games. What he did show in the 3 games we did see. Was a ability to rebound in the sense were he wanted to go rebound and battle. He also did shoot the ball from deep. I just want to see him be healthy and be apart of the rotation even in limited minutes. Because I do belive that he has things to show in his Senior season.

Dazzling Dunks ...
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Hard to believe as awful as

Hard to believe as awful as st. John's was last year they managed to beat Syracuse, who wound up in the final 4.

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Justin Simon

Where does Justin Simon fall on St. Johns Depth Chart?

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