Tuesday, October 23, 2012
St. John's notes: Jones singled out
By Kieran Darcy
A few more tidbits from St. John's media day, which was held Tuesday at Carnesecca Arena:
• In terms of the eight new players on the St. John's roster, much of the attention has gone to forward JaKarr Sampson, center Chris Obekpa and guard Jamal Branch -- all ranked among the ESPN 100 as high school seniors.
But Lavin singled out Christian Jones on Tuesday, gushing about him on multiple occasions.
"Christian Jones has probably been as consistent as any player on the team," Lavin said. "With his playmaking on the interior, his brute strength at the rim in terms of finishing, his nimble feet, his speed to run rim to rim, his ability to get above the square and flush 'em home -- he is really, really special."
Jones, a 6-foot-7, 222-pound forward, was the final player of the recruiting class to come aboard. "He’s gonna be a real treat for our fans to watch," Lavin said. "We didn’t know coming in the degree he could help right out of the gate."
• Lavin revealed last month that sophomore guard D'Angelo Harrison would move from shooting guard to point guard this season, at least some of the time.
This despite the fact that Harrison led the team in scoring a season ago (16.8 ppg), buried 79 3-pointers, and set the St. John's freshman scoring record.
Lavin was asked about that move on Tuesday.
"He’s one of those rare individuals that has a real knack for scoring, but I think his ballhandling, his decision-making, his playmaking ability is underrated," Lavin said. "For us, when D’Angelo has the ball in his hands, good things happen."
• Lavin said both Harrison and fellow sophomore guard Phil Greene have been bothered by some nagging injuries in the preseason -- Greene to his hip, Harrison to his foot -- but neither injury appears serious.
Lavin also talked up Greene to the media. "Before Phil’s hip labrum issue, he came back and hit the ground running," Lavin said. "He was on a tear offensively."