Dwayne Polee Jr.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIgSarOjhKw

We have a definite soft spot for Dwayne Polee II (above).  When we heard earlier this week that he was transferring, we were a bit perplexed.  As we opined early on last season, Polee could be a 1 and done talent, only we were thinking NBA, especially after a few highlight reel dunks in the season opener.  As it would turn out, there weren’t too many more of those moments for Polee, who, for the sake of appearances and what well may really be, wants to be closer to home for family reasons, a sick family member, we think.

Polee never really fit in here and that is a terrible shame, because his commitment to the program–the first major talent to sign on–helped St. John’s get the ball rolling in terms of buzz and recruiting, helping them land Norvel Pelle and nearly Remi Barry, other California kids who had a zillion options.  Polee, a symbollic starter for a portion of the season, lost his claim to real minutes early on, after some uneven performances, bad shooting, and terrible decision making.  But he talked the talk, and seemed to have confidence in the program.  One knew as much after an awful Syracuse loss at the Garden, after which Polee spoke to the media about marking the loss and avenging it.

But it couldn’t have been easy for Polee, the only freshman, a guy from the left coast who was much heralded, to join a cliquey St. John’s team, with players who were probably looking at him like competition.  There was a Pennsylvania clique and a JC clique, and there’s the lanky kid from Cali who may not have had anyone to bond with.  Polee probably looked ahead a bit to next season, which was already becoming quite cliquey, and the cliques again did not involve him.  Maurice Harkless, Jakarr Sampson (see his impressive highlights on www.youtube.com above), and D’Angelo Harrison all played on a national all-star team recently, and seemed like they were having a good time together, while tearing it up.  Harkless and Sampson both have a bit of a position clash with Polee, as does Sir Dominic Pointer, who also played in that competition.

Pointer’s high school teammate, Dwight Meickle, has also skipped out on St. John’s, as Steve Lavin announced last month.  Meickle, who is whispered to be only 6’6 and not 6’9, is probably doing the Johnnies a favor.  The quality of recruit St. John’s is now typically in the mix with is well above the talent level of a Dwight Meickle, and we are sure that Lavin and staff will redistribute that scholarship and bring in a bigger talent.  For 2012-2013. 

Right now, as it sits, St. John’s has an extremely thin roster, with only 10 players signed for next season.  One of whom, Nurideen Lindsey, the supposed starting point guard, may not be eligible for the fall.  Of those 10 players, only 1 has NCAA Division I experience, and that’s point guard Malik Stith, who we made fun of all year for his lack of talent.  So we find ourselves questioning St. John’s for next year, though they recently completed a coup by signing power forward God’s Gift Achiuwa.

It was probably never the best thing for the program to give out so many scholarships so quickly.  Not when so many young kids want to wear the jersey.  Was all the pub about the biggest and best class in St. John’s storied history a bad thing?  Not at all.  It was important in getting the program re-established.  And so was Polee, who we are genuinely sad to see go.  He’s a great kid, and we wish him well.

Meickle?  We don’t think he woulld have played much, and we’d just as soon have somebody else.  And from what we hear, with the attention Lavin’s staff is showering on Kyle Anderson, who at 6’8 can play 5 positions, and Ricardo Gathers, we think St. John’s would rather have better players.  They might even get a better player in here to replace Polee, though we were content to sit with him and see his development, and hail him as the first to come.

We still will.  Too bad it will have to be from afar.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

Eerie CC All-American God’s Gift Achiuwa (below).

Eerie, Pennsylvania JUCO star by way of Nigeria, God’s Gift Achiuwa, the 9th leading scorer and 10th leading rebounder last season in NJCAA, has finally committed to St. John’s University after recently ruling out Washington and Kentucky, and then selecting the Johnnies over Big East rival Cincinnati this week.  For those of you who are confused about the lad’s name, or already under the impression that God’s Gift walked St. John’s sideline–Steve Lavin–understand that we are talking about a 6’8/6’9 beast of a power forward who Lavin and staff have been recruiting for months.  Achiuwa, the son of a Nigerian minister, is 1 of 6 siblings who all have unique first names, including “God’s Will”, “Promise”, and “Peace.”

It’s been a good month for St. John’s, who in the wake of their first tournament berth in 10 years, retained their X’s and O’s wizard Mike Dunlap, who looked to be in the running for top spots with Oregon and UNLV at the final four, and who insiders credit as having taken apart Duke video for 9 months in preparation for St. John’s astounding 93-78 blowout of the then defending national champions.  That the St. John’s staff suffered no defections thus far, with most head coaching vacancies already set, must be considered a victory.  By the way, did anyone notice that the guy who almost took Lavin’s job, Paul Hewitt, accepted the top spot at George Mason, earlier today?  We’re convinced that no one is second guessing that near miss after Hewitt’s 2nd straight shaky season at Tech and a conference downgrade, not to mention the boatload of dollars Hewitt was able to walk away with because of his fancy rollover contract (every year rollover contracts re-set to the original dollars and duration, meaning Hewitt walked with the full value of the contract his agent renegotiated last spring).

Though most publications and media outlets that rank incoming classes already had the Johnnies near the top (www.rivals.com currently has St. John’s at #2 behind Kentucky), as close observers, we believed that God’s Gift, or “Gift”, as the staff refers to him for short, was a crucial get for the Johnnies, who will not win big without size.  St. John’s first round loss to Gonzaga underscored how a lack of size will kill you in the tournament, as did Big East tournament loss to Syracuse on our home floor.  Though the incoming class is being heralded for its shooting and athleticism on the wing, it is comprised of only two big men: Norvel Pelle and Dwight Meickle, and there are questions about both.  Pelle, probably the best of all St. John’s recruits, is a very thin 6’9, and the common notion is that he needs a heavy to do his dirty work for him.  That heavy would be God’s Gift, who is about 240 lbs. of solid muscle.  Meickle, a Long Island product, appeared to be a back of the rotation guy or perhaps less, and that was before God’s Gift made it official.

Those wondering about the look of the starting five are not in the minority.  Though Lavin himself has confirmed that scoring point guard Nurideen Lindsey would be eligible for the start of the 2011 season, we are hearing that he has many credits to complete and that the hopes for his eligibility are ambitious.  There are also loud questions about his commitment to defense, which, if true, will see him languish on the bench when he does arrive, despite his ability to score at will.  Most considered Queens product Maurice Harkless the gem of the class, though it now seems Mo may not crack the starting 5 due to the team’s depth at the 3 and probable need to start both Pelle and Gift.  Harkless is competing for minutes with standout Ohio prospect Jakarr Sampson, and Sir Dominic Pointer, a Detroit prospect who, last year was hailed as a defensive stopper, and now is considered the best all around player in St. John’s class.  And Sophomore Dwayne Polee II will also be vying for minutes.  We can’t imagine a line of freshmen coming in and surpassing Polee, who has already acclimated to the program.

We’d be a bit surprised if Polee, Pelle, and Achiuwa don’t start up front.  We think Harkless and Pointer will see heavy minutes up front as well.  It wouldn’t surprise us if Malik Stith gets some minutes at point, returning for his junior year.  We’ve made fun of him on numerous occasions, but we think the coaches will opt for the stability he offers over a shoot first freshman point guard.  He also may play a little better with better talent around him.  As the year goes on, we think the coaches might stash Stith on the bench in favor of Phil Greene and that Amir Garrett will get a lot of minutes as the 3rd guard.

In 2012, Jevon Thomas comes in and takes the reins as the high quality talent pass first point guard, which, at the moment, is the only position the Johnnies lack.  The staff must also open a few scholarships in the hopes of landing local standouts Kyle Anderson, a 5 position player in high school, and power forward Ricardo Gathers.  Both Anderson and Gathers are frequently mentioned as kids who are giving a lot of thought to coming to St. John’s.

Best news of all regarding the program has to be the nature of Steve Lavin’s prostate cancer, which doctor’s are confident will be cured.  We weren’t surprised at all to learn that Lavin knew about his health situation and had kept the condition a secret while he worked tirelessly to build the foundation of the program.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, http://www.crackbillionair.com)

A hobbled DJ Kennedy (above, middle), of St. John’s.

St. John’s, who was probably headed for a four seed on Sunday when the NCAA announces its tournament dance card, can expect to receive a lesser seed and a much rougher travel scenario because of the torn ACL suffered by well rounded guard/forward DJ Kennedy, who is at worst the 2nd or 3rd best player on the Johnnies.  Kennedy suffered the tear on Thursday in the quarter-finals of the Big East Tournament against Syracuse, in a game St. John’s ultimately lost, 79-73.

The Johnnies weathered the loss of Kennedy early on, taking a 37-32 lead into the half, but were significantly outplayed in the 2nd half by the Orange, despite taking a point lead with about 3 minutes to play.  In light of the injury to Kennedy, Steve Lavin went to a bigger lineup, playing Evans, Burrell, and Brownlee in the forecourt.  But without Kennedy, the team looked disorganized on defense on crucial possesions late, giving up easy dunks in the paint and an offensive rebound that resulted in a layup for Syracuse which essentially sealed the game.

The selection committe has been known to drop teams’ seeding when they lose key players late in the season.  Losing to Syracuse alone, a higher ranked squad, would probably not have led to a worse seed.  But losing Kennedy from an already thin team will.  The injury also concerns us because it could serve to deflate a group that had been playing with a lot of confidence.

Dwayne Polee II, who had little success after a strong start to the season, should be looked upon by the coaches as someone who will need to step up in the place of Kennedy.  Though we will admit to being disheartened by the loss of Kennedy, we would expect no less from this coaching staff than to see this team come out fully ready to play next week in St. John’s first trip to the tournament in 10 years.

And we hate to put sour grapes out there, but truth is, we just don’t see the importance of The Big East Tournament, which is more grueling than the NCAA tournament, for example, with a team like UCONN playing 5 games in 5 days, and the possibility of injury one week before the NCAA championship tournament.  Sure, small conference tournys are fine where you are playing for a bid.  But let’s face it.  Unless there’s a fluke, a good team that’s already going to the dance is going to win the Big East Tournament.  And a Providence or a Seton Hall, should they pull off a miracle, still should not get the luxury of wiping away a season of bad results by capturing lightning in a bottle for a few days in New York.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

 

On a few occasions this season (prior to games vs. Northwestern, Georgetown, ASU, and Duke) we’ve had a warm feeling–positive expectations–about a given game.  Damn us for announcing in the past that we had no idea why.  Frankly, there’s only one real player on the team, one super athletic but raw freshman, lost in the half court for more than a month, and a collection of short role players.  No size at all.  Very under talented.  You know how much we love Steve Lavin and how thoroughly we have professed our love for him since second one of his tenure.  In fact, we had been torching AD Chris Monasch for his sluggish, trumped up pursuit (if you could call it that) of Billy Donovan and Paul Hewitt, but once we caught the slightest whiff of the Lavin to SJU rumors, we promptly cut it out.  It may have taken us 23 games to fully comprehend that Lavin has cooked up the good feeling surrounding the program with tireless recruiting efforts–for both players and coaches–courting and re-establishing the connections to St. John’s royalty like Chris Mullin and Ron Artest, and making a team out of the talent and size poor bunch he inherited from the inept Norm Roberts.

As former Knick big and esteemed commentator Len Elmore pointed out during the broadcast, Lavin might not have gotten all the ingredients in for this Johnnies squad, but he did “bake the cake.”  L-ELM???  We’d see Lavin as more like the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker.  Despite watching UConn recently light up Marquette on the road in the 2nd half, we felt the Lavin positive vibe last night.  Until Lavin chatted with former ESPN colleague Elmore in the tunnel prior to the game, and told the camera that Elmore would probably have a much better time watching that game than Lavin would.

Luckily, such talk was more low key Lavin and false modesty.  From about the 9 minute mark of the first half on, St. John’s destroyed a very good Husky team.  So St. John’s only has 1 offensive player?  If that guy is getting to the rim and looking for his shot, that guy, Dwight Hardy (above), showed Thursday that he’s all you really need.  5-8 from 3 pt. range, and 33 pts total, including 12 in a row on a Hardy to UConn 12-0 run, mixing long range bombing with a nasty ability to get in the paint and convert several conventional 3 point plays.  St. John’s weathered a late first half Husky run, took a small lead into the half, and then went on a 19-3 run spirited by Hardy, who took to heart his marquee matchup with Bronx rival and Big East scoring ace Kemba Walker.

So St. John’s, capping an NCAA record 7th straight game against top 25 teams, railed Connecticut in front of a decent Garden crowd, and are now 7-1 at MSG and 4-3 against teams in the top 25.  Their recent win against Duke was Duke’s worst out of conference loss in 20 years, and though they followed it with a stumble at UCLA in Lavin’s return to Pauley Pavilion, Hardy poured in 32 and the Johnnies had a chance late on the road in a very tough non-conference tilt.  Lavin had to have wanted that one badly, and the team had to have known it.  They brought incredible to focus into the UConn game, and for the 3 game set, couldn’t have gone a better 2 and 1.  St. John’s had an insane 22 rating in the RPI going into last week, and today, they notched a very impressive road win over Big East foe Cincinnati on the road.

They got the win today despite blowing a 52-40 lead late, and they couldn’t buy a field goal in the closing minutes of the game.  They did it with excellent position play and hustle, poise at the line, and confidence.  Hardy had another 18 today and nailed another 4 3 point field goals, but it came down to defense for the Johnnies, who were exploited a bit on both ends on the glass by the Bearcats.  UConn was unable to pull that off the other night when St. John’s, despite the lack of size, killed the Huskies on the glass 43-33.

Defense and hustle were also on display against the Huskies, who St. John’s seemed to run cirlces around.  St. John’s scored the first 27 fast break points of the game, and in the end, notched a 27-2 win in fast break points.  So much so in fact, that many Husky fans have been questioning HOF coach Jim Calhoun’s preparedness with regard to the St. John’s game. 

We were very interested to see how this team would respond today on the road after such an impressive win.  Especially when we heard Lavin’s post game remarks about the St. John’s mindset right now.  When the Johnnies beat Duke, Lavin gave the team 2 hours to celebrate.  No such break was issued Thursday night.  “That was the biggest game of the year.” he would say.  “Now, the next one is.”

This team has grown, and they are a very tough out despite the shortcomings.  All credit to Lavin, b.t.w., for taking a look at these kids and seeing that Dwight Hardy, who Norm Roberts didn’t rate as a starter, as the premiere player on the team.  And again, for hiring the staff that he did.  We’ve said it before and we’ll say it more.  Getting Keady was a master stroke, and what kind of guy would get a guy like Keady to come here at 70 something and do this while living out of a hotel?  Do not under estimate Keady’s influence on this squad.  They play extremely smart ball, and in the Keady fashion, they squeeze every drop out of their talent.  And how about the hiring of Mo Hicks?  Hicks, an NYC amateur basketball power broker, is no doubt part of the reason why high school sophomore phenom Isaiah Lewis (above) of Christ the King, is looking hard at the Johnnies, and who could be the top player in the nation in the class of 2013.  But then again, Lavin didn’t have Hicks yet when he landed Mo Harkless, who many have touted as the best player in NY in the 2011 class.  It helps with these kids that Lavin is always saying the right things.  About opponents, about recruiting, about the mindset of the team, his message to the team, or to legends he wooed and added to this dream staff.  Lavin is always making things happen, whether it’s a big win, celebrity pull, or another recruiting gem, like Chicago standout Phil Greene (below), who committed to St. John’s earlier this month.  Greene is a 6’2/6’3 combo guard who is expected to compete for a starting spot in next year’s backcourt , and who should receive quality minutes at any rate.

As we’ve mentioned, seeing Chris Mullin around the team, whether at Carneseca, MSG, or on the road (St. Mary’s) is also a big boost.  Or established NBA players like Dejuan Blair or Knick great Allan Houston.  And did you hear what Ron Artest said?

“They whupped on UConn.  They whupped on their butts.  And Duke too.”

On Lavin, Artest would say:

“Doing great.  I’m really happy about that.”

You and me both, RA.  And wait ’til next year, when they have a collection of A grade talent, which includes a scoring machine in Nurideen Lindsey at the lead, a top big in Norvel Pelle, and Harkless leading a cast of 8 other prized recruits.  The schedule isn’t falling off any time soon, but we’re looking for our boys to record a few other popping wins–regular season and tournament.

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Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

St. John’s “big man” Justin Burrell.

So St. John’s, after 5 stirring victories in a row, went to South Bend last Saturday.  A vteran Notre Dame team crushed them, content to move the ball quickly and to exploit mismatches, the Irish kept scoring, and never allowed St. John’s to establish their defensive stronghold, and then to get out in transition.  Then this week, in front of a 14,440 Garden faithful–an excellent crowd considering New York City’s inclement weather–things only got tougher for Lavin’s crew.  St. John’s, now having dropped 5 straight to Syracuse, got out well in the game.  Up 17-8 early, St. John’s produced hardly a noteworthy moment from that time forward.  The Orange went on an 11-0 run to tie, and then the Johnnies inability to score in the half court was again glaring.  At 25-18 down, St. John’s canned two straight threes to pull to 25-24.  From there they were outscored 51-35, for a 76-59 loss which was not as close as the scoreboard indicated.  At 25-24, Syracuse ran off 4 straight buckets in what semed like a blink.  At that point it was 33-24, and essentially, the game was over.

The loss made two straight in the Big East for St. John’s, which for the moment, dropped them to 3-2 in conference play, and 10-5 overall.  It seemed no help was on the horizon, with a Garden rematch looming versus Notre Dame looming yesterday afternoon.  But knowing Lavin, we had a good feeling about yesterday’s game, if once again, we couldn’t tell you why.  Probably has a little something to do with the fact that St. John’s has a newly restored element in their midst this year called pride. 

The Johnnies upped their record to 11-5 (4-2 conf) by protecting the home court yesterday in New York.  They did it according to the Lavin/Keady blueprint: stops and run outs.  St. John’s held a 26-19 lead at the half which they parlayed into an impressive 72-54 win over the formerly 11th ranked Irish, who turned up 16th in this week’s latest poll.  The win was the 2nd in 2 weeks over ranked opponents for the Johnnies who are building quite a case for an NCAA bid, now about half way through their season.  St. John’s was led by D.J. Kennedy, who had 14 pts and 8 boards, Dwight Hardy, who had 12 pts on 4-6 shooting, with 4 rebounds and 4 assists to go with it, and Justin Brownlee, who added 11 points and 5 rebounds.  In what was a shocker to us, Malik Boothe, who we have absolutely trashed for his lack of ability, brought 14 pts to the table in 24 minutes. 

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But we’d like to go back to Syracuse.  Not actually, but for the sake of trashing them in this space.  God, we hate them.  From the way ESPN’s crew fetes them–touting how they feel the Garden is their home away from home–to the way their players run their mouths.

“We just know where we stand with New York and where New York stands with us.  St. John’s is having a great year.  We’re not taking anything away from them…but we’re New York’s team right now.” — Scoop Jardine

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/college/2011/01/12/2011-01-12_syracuse_invades_madison_square_garden_outclasses_st_johns_7659_in_big_east_new_.html

They talk because they are worried.  St. John’s is in play on all viable city kids, cutting into Syracuse’s recruiting base considerably.  And Lavin’s California pipeline and pull out in the Golden State can not be matched by Syracuse, who has now watched California pull what looks like two consecutive Mr. Basketball’s from Cali, Dwayne Polee, and next year’s gem, big man Norvel Pelle.  We hear Remi Barry is still beaming about his visit to campus as well.  Wearing ‘NY’s Team’ shirts in the Garden and chirping about it, as well as a tacky guerilla marketing campaign in which they rented out the tops of New York City yellow taxis and installed orange plackards was at once desperate and sad.

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Look, what kid in his right mind would want to play for Syracuse over St. John’s?  Who is going to pick the sticks over the city?  Syracuse is so far from everywhere that their sticks have sticks.  There are no basketball players in Syracuse to recruit, so they have to try to snag our kids.  In fact, there’s nothing in Syracuse.  It makes “cultural hubs” like Texas and Indiana seem like Milan.  Syracuse is 5-6 hours outside the city on a good day, but we wouldn’t call it God’s country.  My friend and I traveled their not too long ago to visit a friend, and since I went to college upstate, I had occasion to visit in my younger days as well.  No redeeming elements whatsover. 

In our recent visit, we left Manhattan at midnight, were on the West Side Highway immediately, and were on the Thruway and rolling with in a blink, at 75 MPH, for a good 2 hours.  We felt good about life.  And then we saw a sign that said, “Syracuse: 280 Miles.”  That was the worst sign I have ever read in my life.  It was worse than the drug disclaimers you read when going through customs in Bermuda.  I much prefer the drive to Florida.  It may be 20 something hours, but when you get there, at least you’re in Florida, not Syracuse.

They have a great team again and have put some fine players in the pros of late, like Johnny Flynn and Wes Johnson, who we’d take on the Knicks in a heart beat.  But they’re Syracuse.  I’d rather go to Fordham.  As for St. John’s, they face Louisville Wednesday night in Louisville in Lavin’s first trip there since resurrecting the program.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/memo-to-fordham-curb-your-enthusiasm/

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

St. John’s star Dwight Hardy (above).

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As St. John’s opened the season at St.Mary’s in Northern California, alum and New York basketball demigod Chris Mullin looked on.  Sure Mullin is also connected through the Warriors to the Northern California basketball scene, but we thought that it was a good pull for Lavin in his debut.  We’ve watched, and been critical of this current team, while placing every possible faith in new coach Steve Lavin, who has quickly genereated a buzz.  In our critical mind, the losses to Fordham and St. Bonaventures, were ominous signs for the current squad, and made us temper our enthusiasm for the Lavin buzz, because as great as the recruiting has been, a season is going on, and the team right now is the team you have on the floor.

We watched as St. John’s slithered through the Holiday Festival, and went on record as saying we thought they’d take Northwestern, even if we couldn’t tell you why.  We watched as St. John’s scored a miraculous upset at West Virginia over a coach we respect in Bob Huggins, and then followed it up with the nice win at Providence.  But tonight, now that was some shit.  The Garden had a buzz about it.  Lou Carnesecca was seated in his perch in row 4–the Godfather.  Dejauan Blair of the San Antonio Spurs, in town to play the Knicks, was on hand to watch Pittsburgh buddy Dwight Hardy.  And the ever stylish Allan Houston of the New York Knicks front office–a good basketball man, was also there to see New York City’s finest college basketball go down.

Dwight Hardy didn’t disappoint his big name friend in attendance, scoring several clutch baskets down the stretch after St. John’s blew the lead in the final 5 minutes, and for the guy that Lavin called perhaps the best shooter he has ever coached, including UCLA stock such as Trace Murray and Jason Kapono, it was Hardy off the dribble that really killed Georgetown.  Hardy made 5-10 from the field and 10/1o at the line, and broke Georgetown down at will with a lightning first step.  St. John’s received impressive play–standout–from Justin Brownlee, who in addition to scoring 15 pts, added a very well rounded 7 rebounds and 6 assists in 40 minutes, and from the guy who Lavin called his “Bruce Bowen”, and who we had no idea had it in him–Paris Horne.  Horne, in one succession, had an immense defensive play in which he drew a charge, then grabbed an offensive board and in watching, we had to admit that the guy was everywhere.  And it was Brownlee, who, trailing 58-57 crashed the boards on an impressive run to the hoop that Hardy couldn’t finish, and converted the put back to take the lead once and for all. 

Lavin has said things all along that we attributed to him as having to say in order to get the most out of this basketball team.  Like after the upset at West Virginia, he said that the team is coming together and that their best basketball was ahead.  And after bad losses to the Bonnies and Fordham, Lavin said that he could feel the team improving and coming together.  Though we didn’t necessarily buy it, and chalked it up to coach speak, he wasn’t lying.  Lavin is showing himself as not just the king of networking–the guy who has been able to access and accentuate every aspect of St. John’s heritage, NYC, and the Garden as a home court to bring 6 top 70 basketball recruits here in next year’s class–but also as a supremely gifted coach with the talent he was given.  College basketball–the game in its purest form–is simple really when one breaks it down to the game’s common denominator, which is defense.  This team plays defense, and when you are in a 1 point game with a few minutes left, you have a chance, despite the names on the back of the jerseys.  Then there was the deft coaching move of shelfing both of the team’s horrible point guards, Malik Boothe and Malik Stith, who did not see a minute between them last night, instead opting to ride Kennedy, Hardy, and Brownlee for 40 minutes each.  Horne and Kennedy, taking the lion’s share of minutes in the backcourt–two guys who give you scoring (Hardy) and intangibles (both), have seen the Johnnies settle into this admirable identity, and have grown as a team.

With consecutive wins over Davidson, Northwestern, at West Virgina, at Providence, and at home versus #13 Georgetown, the team has already made a case for inclusion into the tournament, which would be its first such appearance in 10 years, if they could squeeze say another 10 wins out of the schedule, which they have navigated to an impressive 10-3 so far and a 3-0 count in the Big East.

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We couldn’t be happier with Lavin’s hiring and we’re sharpening our cutlery for the next time, say, a team like Fordham pops up on the schedule.  Tom Pecora?  You catch that game last night, troop?  Even though we didn’t want you, buddy, we hope you’re watching to see how a real coach does it.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

St. John’s guard and flat out awful basketball player Quincy Roberts (above).

St. John’s has rebounded from one of its worst ever losses, the 84-81 embarrassment suffered at the hands of Fordham last Saturday, with a gritty win in the Holiday Classic at Madison Square Garden last night.  In the marquee matchup of the evening, Steve Lavin’s crew overcame a 3 point halftime deficit, and “lit up” the scoreboard with a whopping 38 spot, on its way to a 62-57 win over a young but pretty good Davidson squad, coached by Long Island’s own Bob McKillop.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/memo-to-fordham-curb-your-enthusiasm/

On paper, we hated the matchup, knowing McKillop’s reputation for scrappy, well coached teams, and knowing St. John’s reputation these days, period.  But then again, Lavin and his heavyweight coaching militia had some 9 days to get the team ready for this tilt, and surely fired the boys up heading into their first game of the year at Madison Square Garden.  The Johnnies were led by D.J. Kennedy’s 7-9 from the field and 17 total, along with 9 rebounds.  To be honest, we are talking about a horrible basketball game, and frankly, we would be hard pressed to recall a game in which we saw more missed layups that didn’t even draw iron.  But a win is a win is a win, as unseemly as it was.  Sickened were we once again with the woeful point guard play as St. John’s totaled just 8 assists, while Boothe and Stith combined to make one (1) field goal and teamed for a mighty 5 points.  Maybe Lavin can bring in Knicks’ star Amar’e Stoudemire as a guest to chew out the pathetic crew of ones as he did in Cleveland Saturday night when he loudly criticized Toney Douglass for playing 23 minutes without an assist.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/stoudemire-head-knick-in-charge/

At least the apple of eye and who we consider the only player worth watching on the team, Dwayne Polee II, contributed 6 points on 3 of 5 shooting, and made it look easy, albeit in limited minutes.  St. John’s looks for its second invitational tournament win this evening, and enjoys home court advantage, when they face Northwestern at 9:30 PM on the Garden floor.  For some reason, we have a good feeling about the game, though we’d advise you watch on an empty stomach.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/defense-wins-st-johns-great-alaska-shootout/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/growing-pains-for-st-johns-hear-lavin-interview-audio/

More good news for the Johnnies came this afternoon when Quincy Roberts, a 6’5 guard from Harrisburg, Pa. announced that he would transfer, perhaps as early as the spring semester.  Roberts plight would highlight the woeful recruiting acumen of Norm Roberts.  Under Lavin, and with pretty awful guards ahead of him on the depth chart, Quincy Roberts had played in just 4 games this season and has yet to make a meaningful contribution.  We highly doubt that Lavin chased after Roberts after the announcement came down.

Lately there has been rampant speculation that St. John’s has saved one of its remaining scholarships for sick California prospect by way of France, Remi Barry, who is better than Roberts by a mile in every facet of the game, and is longer, bigger, and more athletic as well.  Barry had gushed over his visit to St. John’s this summer, and called Steve Lavin ‘a guy you can trust.’

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/lavin-in-cali-hot-for-top-recruit/

We have a good feeling about tonight’s game for some reason.  And we want desperately to be right.  There is a huge difference between 6-4 and 7-3.

LET’S GO REDMEN!

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

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