Hey everyone -- happy college hoops season! The first three games are tonight, and I will be at one of them -- St. John's hosting William & Mary at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. Happy to field your questions on St. John's, or any of the many New York-area college hoops squads.
Where does St. John's stand with the other walk-ons? What happened to Rivers, and do you think the others will be cleared? Do you think Ashamole can help the team on the glass?
Sam Sealy will be the only walk-on in uniform tonight. There are other walk-ons practicing with the team, but they cannot suit up because of eligibility issues.
Will the coaches be willing to put Sealy into a game if GGA and Harkless get into foul trouble?
I don't anticipate seeing Sealy tonight unless St. John's is really desperate, foul-trouble wise. St. John's only played seven guys in the second exhibition game -- Jamal White didn't get in, either.
It looks as though Jakarr is definitely out of the equation for this year as he reopened his recruitment? What odds would you put on Pelle & Garrett each to join for the Spring semester?
JaKarr Sampson has reopened his recruitment. That doesn't mean St. John's is totally out of the picture, but he's getting looks from some other big-time schools -- Kansas assistant coach Joe Dooley was at Brewster Academy watching Sampson this weekend. As for Garrett and Pelle -- hard to say at this point. Garrett has been tweeting the past few weeks that he's planning on being at St. John's in December, but we'll see. Gene Keady told me Friday that the coaching staff is not thinking or talking about those guys at this point -- they are focused on going with the group they have now.
Am I St John's MVP this year?
Haha, you might be if you come, Norvel -- they desperately need some more size!
Do you think w/ the current talent at SJU by year end they could be a top ten team. I am thinking back to the Felipe Lopez and Zendon Hamilton days when they were preseasoned ranked in the Top 10. That was a mistake obviously but this recruiting class is bigger and may even have better NBA prospects.
I think top 10 this season is asking a little too much. But I wouldn't be shocked to see this team enter the top 25 polls at some point. It's just so hard to predict, with such a brand-new team. My best guess is that they will look outstanding in some games, and really struggle in others -- consistency may be hard to come by. But after what Steve Lavin and his staff pulled off last season, I wouldn't put it past them to get this team in the NCAA tournament.
How will my match up zone fair with new players against a good 3pt shooting team like W&M?
Hey Coach -- I'll see you over at Carnesecca in a few hours! Haha. As for tonight, I expect William & Mary to give St. John's at least a good challenge. The Tribe have some scorers, and the St. John's players are still learning the defense -- the coaches say that will be the key to the season. I expect a close game tonight.
Over/Under 6.5 Big East wins for SJU this year?
Wow. I'll go over -- but I'm optimistic by nature :)
Is Mike Glover the best player in the NY Metro area?
He's definitely one of the very best, if not the best -- the local Big East teams may have young guys just as or a little more talented, but they're all much younger. I was at an Iona practice last week, and was very impressed with the entire team. I expect Iona to be one of the best "mid-major" teams in the country this season, and will be dangerouns if they get in the Big Dance.
How worried are you about the status of Bradshaw? Is Jacobs going to be a major factor in the Giants moving forward?
I think you're in the wrong chat room, Gary :) (But I think the Giants could definitely use Jacobs stepping up the rest of the season.)
How would you describe the attitudes of the staff and players now that you've interviewed many of them? How are they handling questions about Lavin's health, ineligible players, and their inexperience? They appear to be a confident bunch
They are a very confident bunch, that's for sure. I like the new group -- they're all pretty friendly, and seem to have developed good chemistry among themselves very quickly. And St. John's if fortunate to have an assistant coach with as much experience as Mike Dunlap, with Steve Lavin missing over a month now. Dunlap is tough, but the players seem to respond to him and the rest of the staff.
I've heard Nuri's defense and shot selection described as questionable at best. How has he looked to you?
Well, I'm going on a small sample size -- two exhibiton games -- but I didn't see much wrong with his shot selection. He was 8-for-15 from the field in one exhibition, and 6-for-12 in the other. As for defense -- all these new guys are learning the matchup zone, and it's going to be a process. I love the fact that Lindsey has requested tapes of Dwight Hardy and is watching them on his own in his dorm room. He's a different player than Hardy, but that's a great player to learn from.
Do you think Mo Harkless is a first round NBA talent? Can he compete with Drummond for top freshman in the BE this year?
Harkless certainly has NBA potential, I would say. St. John's needs him to have a huge season, and I think he will. But Drummond is the heavy favorite for freshman of the year in the Big East, I think he'll be tough to beat.
Do you think St. Johns can follow up this year's recruiting class with another solid one?
I do -- listening to the new players talk about their recruitment at media day on Friday, I got an even better sense of how good Steve Lavin is as a pitch man. Many of them spoke about how much Lavin was interested in them and their lives off the court, as well as on the court. And St. John's has already gotten a committment for next year by 6-7 forward Ricardo Gathers, ranked No. 30 in the country in his high school class by ESPNU.
How long of a leash is Tom Pecora on at Fordham?
Pecora is only entering Year 2 -- he has a long leash. For what it's worth, Pecora was very optimistic about his Rams at Atlantic 10 media day in Brooklyn a few weeks ago. We'll see what happens -- a big challenge to turn around that program.
I've got to run guys, but thanks for all the questions! We'll do this again next week.