We Are Georgetown and You’re Not: St. John’s
Just like last year, we’re giving you three reasons to hate each of Georgetown’s Big East opponents. Today: the St. John’s Red Storm.
Who are these guys?
Georgetown fans know something about inconsistency after the past few seasons. Nothing is more frustrating than watching your team trounce Duke and then lose to someone like Rutgers. And while inconsistency ultimately leads to disappointment, the top-ranked upsets and blowout victories along the way still count. That’s why the Dukes and Syracuses of the world have to be afraid of you no matter how many points you lose to Ohio by.
In that case, the Hoyas have a lot to fear with the Red Storm. It’s a transitional year in Queens, with a new coach, a roster full of old players, and some top recruits still a year or two away. St. John’s was one of the Big East’s biggest question marks at the start of the season, and after two months, that’s still the case. Last month, the Red Storm lost back-to-back games to Atlantic 10 also-rans St. Bonaventure and Fordham. Fordham won all of two games last season, and the loss to St. Bonaventure was even at home.
Of course, those losses mean little now that St. John’s stands ahead of Georgetown in the Big East standings with a 2-0 record. The Red Storm have opened up conference play with victories over West Virginia and Providence, following a convincing victory against Northwestern. Who knows which St. John’s team will show up tonight, but no matter what the Hoyas better be ready for a fight.
One of Georgetown’s major strengths this year is its experience and senior leadership. Unfortunately, that also appears to be its weakness, at least when it comes to opposing teams. The Hoyas had an easy time against an inexperienced Memphis squad and were able to hold off a late run by a young DePaul team on Saturday. But against Notre Dame, who started five seniors–well, we all know how that went. Temple’s roster was full of veterans too, with a starting lineup of four juniors and a senior.
So it’s probably a cause for concern that St. John’s has an unheard of ten seniors on its team. That’s an absurd amount of experience. And while none of their experience includes a trip to the NCAA Tournament, it does include two wins over Georgetown. (Although both the wins came in March 2009, a month most Hoya fans refuse to acknowledge the existence of.) The group of D.J. Kennedy, Paris Horne, Justin Brownlee, et al. knows how to beat the Hoyas, and they have two more chances this season. Let’s just be happy Nikita Mescheriakov isn’t still around to help them out.
The Red Storm’s new coach returned to the bench this season after spending seven years as a broadcaster at ESPN. Unfortunately unlike some other announcers, Lavin was also a pretty good coach before his time at the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Back in the late ’90s and early ’00s, the young coach led UCLA to five Sweet 16 appearances in six years. Now he appears ready to lead St. John’s back to respectability.
Not too much was expected at first from Lavin while he was stuck with former coach Norm Roberts’ recruits, although as mentioned above, we shouldn’t sleep on the Red Storm this season. But the real reason to hate Lavin is what he’s likely to do in the coming years. Lavin wasted no time in hitting the recruiting trail, putting together one of the nation’s best recruiting classes for next season. Soon enough, Lavin will be coaching one of the most talented teams in the Big East. The Hoyas really don’t need any more obstacles at the top of the conference.