The St. John’s men’s basketball team begins the 2014-15 campaign Saturday with its first of two exhibitions on the preseason calendar welcoming Humboldt State to Carnesecca Arena. A live national broadcast will air on ESPN3 with tip off slated for 2 p.m.
Coming off a 20-win campaign and the 84th winning season in program history, the Red Storm returns a veteran roster which features five seniors including Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team guard D’Angelo Harrison (2013-14 – 17.5 ppg). The Johnnies were selected to finish third according to the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches Poll, which represents the highest ranking of the Steve Lavin Era.
– Tabbed to finish third in the 2014-15 BIG EAST Preseason Coaches Poll, St. John’s matched a league-high with three Preseason All-BIG EAST selections as announced on Oct. 22 during BIG EAST Media Day at Madison Square Garden. Senior D’Angelo Harrison was named to the First Team, sophomore Rysheed Jordan landed on the Second Team and junior Chris Obekpa was an Honorable Mention.
– In 2013-14, St. John’s made its third postseason appearance in four years under Steve Lavin, competing in the National Invitation Tournament. The Red Storm delivered 20 wins and finished third in the BIG EAST for the second time in Lavin’s tenure at the helm.
– The Johnnies roster features eight upperclassmen, including a five-member senior class (Jamal Branch, Phil Greene IV, D’Angelo Harrison, Khadim Ndiaye, Sir’Dominic Pointer) with 98 games of experience and consecutive trips to the postseason under its belt.
– The Red Storm returns three of its top four scorers from last season in D’Angelo Harrison (17.5 ppg), Rysheed Jordan (9.7 ppg) and Phil Greene IV (7.4 ppg). In total, 65% of St. John’s scoring offense is back for the 2014-15 campaign.
– St. John’s went 14-5 at home in 2013-14, winning seven of its final eight home games of the regular-season. It marked the most home wins in a single season for the Red Storm since 2006-07.
– The Johnnies ranked in the top half of the BIG EAST in 2013-14 for scoring offense (72.8), scoring defense (67.7), rebounding (36.8), blocks (7.5), steals (6.8), scoring margin (+5.1), field goal percentage defense (.409), three-point field goal percentage (.349) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.345).
– Already the St. John’s record-holder for blocks in a career (227), single-season (133) and single-game (11), Chris Obekpa is back for his junior campaign. The 6-foot-10 forward has led the BIG EAST in blocks the last two years averaging 2.9 in 2013-14 and 4.0 in 2012-13.
– D’Angelo Harrison enters the season ranked 10th on the program’s all-time scoring chart with 1,601 career points and he is within striking distance of becoming only the third 2,000-point scorer in program history. Harrison already holds St. John’s career three point field goal record with 198.
– Phil Greene IV is on pace to become the 49th player in St. John’s history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. The senior guard from Chicago is the most experienced member on the roster starting 88 of 97 career appearances. He has accumulated 813 points, 253 rebounds and 229 assists in his first three seasons.
– Former St. John’s standout JaKarr Sampson made his NBA debut for the Philadelphia 76ers on October 29 against Indiana. The 6-foot-9 forward played eight minutes off the bench and grabbed a rebound. Sampson is the second St. John’s player under Steve Lavin to land on an NBA team’s regular-season roster. Maurice Harkless (Orlando Magic) was selected 15th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, the highest draft selection for the Johnnies since 2002.
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