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The long, strange spring/summer tale of St. John’s basketball

Much has happened for St. John’s but everyone agrees that this could be the year for the Red Storm.

St. John’s, once a national power in college basketball, has seen a slight upturn over the last two seasons. The team’s win total has increased every season under head coach Chris Mullin. Add in the maturation of guard Shamorie Ponds and the Red Storm is being talked about as one the up and coming teams in the Big East conference.

Since the season ended for St. John’s, many things have occurred for the team. Things like signing high profile high school players to Ponds declaring for the NBA Draft…and then pulling his name out of the NBA Draft. All these events culminated with St. John’s athletics director resigning in June. We will go through the long journey that is St. John’s basketball and what it means for the program long term. Let’s start with the obvious blessing that was bestowed to the Red Storm.

Ponds Returning To School For Junior Season

Shamorie Ponds announced right after the season that he would be testing the waters of the NBA Draft process. While the 6’1” guard did work out for a few teams during the process, he was not one of the 69 players invited to the NBA Draft Combine in May. Without that invite, all signs pointed towards Ponds returning to Jamaica and Mullin could not be any happier.

Ponds, who led the Big East in scoring at 21.6 points per game, will lead a Red Storm squad that played hard every game last season. Along with Marvin Clark II and Justin Simon, Ponds will be leaned on to take a leadership role with a team that once again lacks many upperclassmen. Ponds will be motivated due to not being invited to the Draft Combine, and there is nothing better than a player with a chip on their shoulder.

Goff Announces Resignation from St. John’s

In a shocking move, St. John’s Director of Athletics Anton Goff his resignation from the school effective immediately. Kathleen Meehan, Associate Vice President for Athletics and Senior Women’s Administrator, will be serving as the Interim Director of Athletics.

“Due to family reasons it is in my best interest to move on from St. John’s at this time,” said Goff. “I am thankful for the opportunities afforded to me at the University and will treasure all of the relationships I built with our student-athletes, coaches and administrators during my tenure.”

The school announced plans to begin a national search for a new AD, but Goff was brought in after St. John’s went well over a year without someone in charge. The other pressing thing is this: While St. John’s has improved, what does a new AD mean for Mullin (38-60 in his return to his alma mater) and his staff if a postseason berth eludes them again?

The Future Is Bright For The Red Storm

A lot will be determined after a new AD is named and whether Auburn transfer Mustapha Heron will be allowed to play this season after applying for a hardship waiver. Even with the uncertainty, St. John’s could be in line to make a significant jump in the Big East. Seton Hall is down four seniors, Villanova lost most of their scoring and Butler lost many upperclassmen. Add in other losses for teams in the conference and now may be the time for the Red Storm.

Will St. John’s compete for the Big East crown in the 2018-2019 season? Of course not. They will, however, begin to win those close games that they lost last season (the Red Storm lost ten conference games by seven points or less). With the possible addition of Herron, junior college standout LJ Figueroa added to the rotation, St. John’s could begin the climb back to the glory days similar to when Mullin was a student in Queens.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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