Red Storm Looking To Get Offensive in 2010
Being able to say you are in the record books for an offensive accomplishment is usually something that most schools would welcome in college basketball.
For St. John's, however, setting a Big East Tournament record in 2009 is something they would happily have someone else break.
Yes, 10 points was all the offense that St. John's was able to muster in their 2009 second round loss to Marquette in the Big East Tournament. A record for futility in a half for Big East Tournament play.
Unfortunately for Red Storm fans, offensive droughts seem to have become more of the norm recently the past two seasons. Three years ago, Red Storm head coach Norm Roberts hailed his incoming class as potentially his best since taking over the program.
As the core group of that class begins to enter their junior year, it seems as if St. John's is still searching for that one player who can become a consistent force offensively.
Losing Anthony Mason Jr. last season as a medical redshirt was a devastating loss for St. John's. Mason was clearly their most explosive scorer heading into the start of the 2009 season.
Add to that the transfer of Larry Wright following the 2007-08 season—the Red Storm were left without a true offensive "go to guy". Only two players averaged double figure scoring last year, Paris Horne (14.8) and DJ Kennedy (12.8).
With four new recruits arriving this fall, a healthy Mason returning, along with rising junior forwards Justin Burrell (9.9 ppg) and Sean Evans (9.8 ppg), the hope is that the Red Storm will finally have several options on the offensive end.
Of the four incoming recruits, Dwight Hardy has the potential to make the quickest impact next year. Known as a deep shooter, the 6'2" guard comes to St. John's from Indian Hills Community College in Iowa, where he averaged 18.9 points per game last season and an impressive 26.3 over his final 12 games.
Hardy is a Bronx native who started his High School career at John F Kennedy HS in the Bronx. Jeff Kidder, his former coach at Indian Hills, calls Hardy a "tremendous shooter & scorer." Hoping to join Hardy in the backcourt will be 6'4" guard Omari Lawrence.
Like Hardy, Lawrence comes to St. John's after starting his high school career in the Bronx. Lawrence starred at St. Raymond HS, where he averaged 18.2 points per game and was named to the Daily News All-City First Team, before playing prep ball at South Kent in Connecticut.
Malik Stith, a 5'11" point guard from Bridgton Academy in Maine, completes the backcourt of the future for St. John's. Stith was named the North Carolina Southwestern 4A Player of the Year, when he played at East Mecklenberg HS before attending Bridgton Academy.
Rounding out the 2010 class for the Red Storm will be 6'7" junior college forward Justin Brownlee. Hailing from Tifton, Georgia, Brownlee averaged 10.1 points per game and 5.7 rebound per game for Chipola Junior College in Florida.
St. John's has its work cut out for them given how difficult it is to move up in the 16 team Big East. Red Storm fans can only hope that a healthy Mason, an improved junior class, and the emergence of one of their new additions will finally get them headed in the right direction.
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