W2W4: St. John's vs. Texas-Pan American

December, 21, 2011
12/21/11
11:00
AM ET
Here are three things to watch for when St. John's (5-5) takes on Texas-Pan American (4-9) on Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena.

Tip-off will be shortly after 7 p.m., and you can watch the game via ESPN3.

WELCOME ADDITION: Freshman Amir Garrett is expected to be in uniform and could make his St. John's debut on Wednesday night. The 6-foot-6 forward from Los Angeles, ranked the No. 99 high school senior in the country last year by ESPNU, was ruled academically ineligible for the first semester by the NCAA, but got his grades up to par this fall at Bridgton Academy in Maine and was officially cleared to play earlier today.

Adding Garrett should provide a big lift for a team that was down to six recruited scholarship players after starting point guard Nurideen Lindsey decided to transfer earlier this month. Four players played the full 40 minutes against Fordham on Saturday. But St. John's fans need to be patient -- it will take some time for Garrett to become acclimated with his new teammates.

HOLIDAY CHEER: St. John's hopes to build off that victory over Fordham -- a win against Texas-Pan American would put the Red Storm over .500 heading into Christmas, followed by the beginning of Big East play on Dec. 27 against Providence.

Head coach Steve Lavin, who continues to recuperate from prostate cancer surgery, surprised the team by attending practice on Tuesday. "None of us knew he was coming -- but he really elevated the spirit in practice today," said forward God'sgift Achiuwa.

It remains to be seen when Lavin will make his return to the team full-time, but it is not imminent.

THE OPPONENT: Texas-Pan American, a member of the Great West conference, has four wins, but just one against a Division I opponent -- a 79-77 victory over Texas State on Nov. 19. The Broncs are ranked No. 304 in Division I in scoring (61.4 points per game) and No. 287 in rebounding (32.3 rebounds per game).

Six-foot-three senior Jared Maree leads the team in scoring, at 14.8 points per game. Six-foot-three junior Brandon Provost averages 12.6 points per game, and both are threats from 3-point range. But the Broncs' tallest starter is 6-foot-7, so this is a team the Red Storm might actually be able to exploit inside with Achiuwa.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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