When Will St. John’s Make Fans Proud Again?

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

(Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Another St. John’s season. Another unfulfilled promise by the basketball program.

Even though the Red Storm will play two more regular-season games this week and participate in the Big East Tournament next week, their hardcore fans even know this season is now a lost cause.

The Red Storm showed last week in their two recent losses to Creighton and DePaul that there’s no point watching them anymore this season. They can’t shoot, and they can’t defend. That’s a recipe for a bad team right there. 

Watching them come up small in what was a winnable game against Creighton at home, which served as a turning point about this season being a lost cause. If St. John’s stars Julian Champagnie and Posh Alexander come up small down the stretch against Creighton in an 81-78 loss on Wednesday, why should anyone have faith in them anymore?

St. John’s made a cynic’s case this season is over by mailing it in against DePaul in their 99-94 loss to DePaul on Sunday. Their defense was nonexistent, and once again, they couldn’t come up with a big shot.

St. John’s players and coaches can talk about opportunities in the Big East Tournament. They should because it’s their responsibility to market the program and do their jobs in playing to win. The fans don’t have to buy into it because they can consume what is good basketball and what is not. Right now, this isn’t.

Here’s what should be a hard-pressing question: When will it get better? Will it ever get better?

Mike Anderson is in his third year as St. John’s basketball coach, and he is 48-39 with no postseason appearance. This also means there’s no NIT appearance on his resume. His record gets inflated with wins against inferior programs in the nonconference schedule. At some point, it’s fair to wonder about him as a head coach.

This was the season he was supposed to take his program to an NCAA Tournament appearance. Experts had St. John’s as one of the best teams in the Big East. With three years in as the head coach of the program, it was fair to start judging him. Painfully, he came up small just like his players.

The players deserve more of the blame since they have failed to shoot well when it mattered. The coach can’t do it for them. Still, the head coach brunt some of the blame because he has not either developed them well or he has not recruited well.

Anderson’s half-court offense tends to be predictable when teams know how to defend it better. As for the defense, well it hasn’t been that special, to begin with.

We have seen this from St. John’s for the last two decades. A team with promise that goes unfulfilled. It churned out so many coaches and players to turn the program around with no results.

The Red Storm made few tournament appearances with no success. They haven’t won a tournament game since March 16, 2000 in a 61-56 victory over Northern Arizona. That was when Mike Jarvis coached them and when Erick Barkley, Lavor Postell and Bootsy Thornton played for them. It was then when they were well-coached and when they had stars that knew what to do.

We can talk about the coaching, but we should really talk about why players have not developed into being the stars they are. St. John’s does have talent. Rysheed Jordan, Moe Harkless, Sir’Dominic Porter, Shamorie Ponds, LJ Figueroa, Mustapha Heron, D’Angelo Harrison, Alexander and Champagnie were touted to be the difference makers, but they haven’t played like one and they haven’t been the guy to make big shots.

Watching Alexander and Champagnie came up so small by missing shots in what was a winnable game against Creighton was troubling. It again showed St. John’s don’t have the guy who embraces to be the guy in a big stage.

St. John’s can fire coaches after coaches all it wants. At the end of the day, it comes down to the players. The Red Storm haven’t had one in a long time. It does not help New York City does not have good high school basketball players whatsoever, and it sure does not seem like the good ones or high school players in New Jersey wants to go play for St. John’s.

There’s no solutions to when St. John’s will get better. The losses goes way beyond the boxscore. 

This explains why there has been apathy with St. John’s for two decades. The program hasn’t won, and the recruits haven’t come.

So while anyone that actually cares about St. John’s and ponder again why this season has been another flop, the question should be if this will ever end.

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