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

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.

1 comment:

pops said...

The Wade analogy is a good one.