Lavin said Monday that he's been pleased with Harrison's response to the benching, and that he'll receive "starter's minutes" against Detroit. Harrison said he's OK with not starting, and will be ready whenever called upon. Still, this bears watching.
St. John's needs Harrison to score, and score big, to be successful. He is also the emotional center of the team. Is he aggressive offensively once he enters the game, or passive? Does he maintain his composure, as the coaching staff has asked him to do, or does he lose his cool with the referees, or even his teammates? We'll see what happens.
Detroit, meanwhile, is expected to start two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore.
To be fair though, the St. John's sophs got loads of experience last season, and the home crowd and cozy confines of Carnesecca will help, too. This should be a close game.
St. John's should look to push the tempo with this bunch, since this isn't a great group when it comes to perimeter shooting (that's where Harrison comes in). If the Red Storm get bogged down playing half-court offense, that's not good. Sampson in particular has shown signs of being an electric finisher, and should become a fan favorite.
REMEMBER THE TITANS: St. John's is very familiar with Detroit, losing to the Titans 69-63 last December in the Motor City.
Detroit went on to the NCAA tournament, and is picked to finish second in the Horizon League this year. They opened their regular season with an 88-53 victory over Division II Northern Michigan on Friday.
Doug Anderson, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, led the Titans with 25 points in the season opener. But Detroit's best player is 6-foot-3 junior guard Ray McCallum Jr., son of head coach Ray McCallum Sr., who scored 22.
McCallum is not a great perimeter shooter -- he made just 24 percent of his 3-point attempts last season. But he can fill it up nonetheless. St. John's will likely put Pointer -- a Detroit native, and arguably the Red Storm's best defender -- on McCallum if they play man-to-man. If St. John's goes zone, McCallum will get plenty of attention, too. And rightfully so. Let the lesser players beat you.