Will Johnny Be Good?
Can the Red Storm continue to compete amongst the elite college
basketball programs across the nation?
St. John’s finished the 2003 season on a high after winning its record sixth NIT Championship (granted the NIT is akin to
having the best elementary backstroke in beginner swim.) It was swell, Hatten got the sendoff a champion deserves and the Johnnies took home the title in front of a passionate hometown
Garden crowd. Besides Syracuse, St. John’s has the longest winning streak in the country entering the 2003-04 season.
But history, according to Henry Ford, is more or less bunk.
Big time college athletics are entering the age of the golden pigskin. What is good for the Gridiron is good for institutions of
higher learning. Unfortunately, the only football they play in Jamaica, Queens is the world popular variety.
The Big East managed to survive a coup d’etat by the ACC and is actually in great
shape in basketball. Miami and Virginia Tech weren’t exactly basketball powers and there are rumors of Louisville or Cincinnati joining the
conference in the future. As long as the Big East lives, St. John’s will have the opportunity to remain on the national radar.
Elijiah Ingram will need to step up and make this his team
The immediate future for SJU is optimistic (if your one of those glass is a quarter fill kind of guys). The Marcus Hatten Show
will no longer be aired next season and that means SJU must replace its best scorer, play maker, rebounder, defender and team leader.
The talent may be a bit lacking for them to make a dent in the post-season, but the Johnnies have decent experience and depth. Elijiah
Ingram should be more comfortable in his sophomore campaign, and he will be joined in the backcourt be freshman PG Darryl “Showtime” Hill, already a street ball legend. Supposedly, Showtime has been burning high profile guards at the Rucker all summer and will bring flair, dazzle and excitement to the Storm.
The usual cast of bipolar ballers is led by seniors Willie Shaw, Kyle Cuffe, Grady Reynolds and Andre Stanley. Newcomers include
Tyler Jones, Lamont Hamilton and Andre Ighodaro. All three are frontcourt players who may be able to contribute but will most likely need time to
develop. An intriguing recruit is Ryan “Special Effects” Williams, another streetball player from Cardoza (same high school as Showtime) who is
trying to academically qualify so that he can walk-on. Rumor has it that Special Effects has ridiculous hops, but rumors don't mention his dribbling,
shooting or defensive skills.
Coach Mike Jarvis receives little slack and much flak from the Redmen.com message boards but the coach has done an admirable job in his five
Mike Jarvis has had his ups and down
seasons. Fans have been disappointed in his recruiting and player development. Sure,
he loses players in NY and some of his recruits haven’t panned out (Alpha Bangura, Tim Doyle, Tristin Smith, Curtis Johnson). But Jarvis has
recruited McDonald’s All Americans Omar Cook, Elijiah Ingram and Darius Miles. It hurt that Miles and Cook together logged only 1 year in Queens, but that’s the nature of the business these days.
Jarvis has kept the program clean and is a respectable face for the program. Look for him to stay a few more years then try to
catch on in the NBA. If this happens Jarvis will try and part on good terms in order to pass on his position to his son Mike Jarvis Jr., better known as “Deuce”.
The recruiting network is decently stocked for the future. SJU has already received a verbal commitment from big man Jermaine Bell.
A commitment from top NY guards AJ Price from Long Island, or Russell Robinson from NYC, would be huge and give Jarvis some more credibility as a recruiter.
The schedule remains strong with recent out of conference series with Duke, UCLA, and future opponents including Georgia Tech and a budding city rivalry with Manhattan
It doesn’t seem as though the Redmen will bring home the big NCAA crown anytime soon. Still St. John’s will continue to represent
the city with competitive gritty play and occasional flashes of brilliance and magic. If you’re a supporter, stay faithful.
If not, there’s no better time to jump on the bandwagon then now.
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