Covering the St. John's University basketball program back to Big East promience. "This year it's time to win."

Friday, November 17, 2006

St. John's vs. Texas-Halftime

It is currently halftime in the Coaches vs. Cancer third place game and St. John's LEADS Texas 45-44. I can't remember too many times, if at all, that St. John's scored 45 points in the first half, in the last couple seasons. The key to the St. John's early success has been, without question, the outside shooting of Avery Patterson. He already has five three point baskets with a total of 19 points. Daryll Hill is off to a nice start as well, with 7 points, while getting penatraition on a consistent basis.

Hill, Hamilton, and Mason are going to have to pick up the scoring slack more in the second half, unless Patterson can contiune to have a monster game. On defense they can't do much besides limit Kevin Durant to shooting threes' as he did in the first half. Hopefully, he slows down in the second half, as he did last night versus Michgan State when he was held scoreless after the break.

At this point, it doesn't seem that Texas has a ton of offensive depth, so if St. John's can buckle down on Durant and AJ Abrams, they have a reasonable chance to pull off the upset in front of, what looks like a tiny Garden crowd.

Go St. John's.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Coaches vs. Cancer Tip-off

St. John’s gets set to take out Maryland in just a few hours at the Garden. This tournament is a great test for the team earlier on in the season to see just where their at, particularly whether they are a NCAA tournament team or an NIT team.

Since it is still so early in the season, this tournament shouldn’t have a negative effect on the team, even if they lose both games. If they win one, or two they will certainly get votes in the polls and each victory looks good on their resume when selection Sunday rolls around in March.

Well, I don’t have much time to talk as I’m headed off to the game, so see you there. You can check the game out on ESPN2 at 7 pm. I’ll be back with a recap and preview to tomorrow’s nights game.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Countdown to Maryland Game:Three Days

Tickets for St. John’s home games at Madison Square Garden (excluding the coaches vs. cancer and holiday festival tournament) went on sale today at noon. By 3 p.m. the best seat you could buy for a few of the games were all the way up in the 300s sections. I have no clue how so many tickets were sold beforehand. Surely, there were not many season-ticket holders that got first dibs on the tickets to fill up the majority of the stadium. It is good news for St. John’s that their games are finally selling at the Garden and bad news for me, as it looks as if I will sit in the student section for a few games where I would have liked to have courtside seats. (The student section is behind the basket.)

Coach Norm Roberts has set out to get more exposure to his team and will continue his efforts in the next few days before the match up with Maryland on Thursday.

St. John’s men’s basketball coach Norm Roberts will hit the New York radio airwaves once again this week, on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Roberts will appear on the Michael Kay Show on Tuesday afternoon for an interview between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on 1050-AM ESPN Radio, and then do double-duty on Wednesday with appearances on 1050-AM ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Show at 1 p.m., and Mike and the Mad Dog on Sports Radio 66 The Fan at 3 p.m.

Read more about it here.

St. John’s play in this years’ coaches vs. cancer tournament may, arguably, already be deemed as a success with the exposure the team will get playing on national TV versus a big time ACC school, while other teams are just tuning up for the bigger, more important games over the winter. This team also needs to get attention early to set up what could be potential big games versus Uconn, Syracuse, and Duke all at the Garden.

Fans can gear up for the game by wearing one of these t-shirts to the game on Thursday.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Opening Weekend Thoughts

Over the weekend, St. John’s emerged as the victor in their regional tournament as a part of the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament, after beating North Florida on Friday and Navy on Saturday. St. John’s advances to the semifinals, held at Madison Square Garden, and will play Maryland at 7 p.m. on Thursday night.

St. John’s successfully unveiled their new talent in a big way over the weekend, when Avery Patterson went bananas in the North Florida game and hit a school record, eight three point baskets. He also had four threes, the following night and was named MVP of the regional tournament.

This team is certainly much improved from last year with newcomers Larry Wright, Avery Patterson, and Qa'rraan Calhoun all receiving a good amount of playing time. Freshmen Derwin Kitchen was held out of the games, due to academic reasons and could be re-instated next semester.

Patterson obviously made the biggest impact of the freshmen, and should continue to all year long. With his outside touch and ability to get off the quick shot, he could turn out to be the Storm’s leading scorer.

I would like him to look for paths to the basket a bit more, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

A player like Patterson, is extremely refreshing to see come into Queens, because his shooting is exactly what this team needs and he does it effectively, something I can’t say about Ricky Torres, who was brought into do the same thing last year.

Overall, I felt the team played pretty well in their two games. The depth makes a huge difference and was on display with a balanced scoring attack in each game. The added depth also had Daryll Hill coming in from off the bench.

This I am not happy about. While I knew this team would have much better depth then in years past, I though this year the team should ride Hamilton and Hill as far as they can. They are the basis of the team and have the most individual talent. So Hill coming off the bench was a very bad sign to me. A team with two dominant players is often much better off then a team made up of a bunch of “nice” players that are above-average but not dominant.

It is one thing if Daryll is not back to one hundred percent after his knee surgery last season, but for him to not start when Anthony Mason is in the lineup is absurd. This is a guy that was the leading returning scorer coming into last year in the entire Big East conference. He used to take games over with his ability to score the ball a couple seasons ago and now, because of a few new players, he is seeing limited playing time.

While it doesn’t make much of a difference when they are playing North Florida or Navy, it is still imperative that Daryll “Showtime” Hill is in the lineup. (And even in the Navy game the team was down 21-12 before a run sparked by Hill, enabled the team to blowout the Midshipmen). This new talent is nice, but it isn’t nearly enough where the team’s former captain, should lose his job. These new players would be great successes if they would turn out to be a player such as Hill is today.

Think of the Miami Heat. Shortly after a lost in the Eastern Conference Finals, the team went out and got some added talent in the off-season. Just because the team brought in some new guys did anyone think that Dwayne Wade should lose his job as starting point guard. The guys they brought in were faced with the challenge of blending in with Wade, just as the new players on St. John’s should have to blend in with Daryll Hill. Wade’s scoring average actually increased even with more offense options.

I would love Hill to go back to the old Showtime,(which isn’t going to happen with quotes from this article) because he is still the best player on the team and should play that way. It is very unselfish the way he’s played the last couple years, but this team that is knows that offense is hard to come by would end up much better with Daryll scoring 25 a game, like he is capable of doing.

New Site, Same Blog

This blog is a continuance of I couldn't get to post titles in the last blog so I switched over to this site. I'll be posting here from now on.