By Julie Parise, for

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Former St. John’s legend and five-time NBA All-Star Chris Mullin expressed confidence Monday night that coaches and players will soon resolve their issues and put an end to the lockout.

“By nature, I’m an optimistic person,” the Brooklyn native told WFAN as he walked the red carpet at The 26th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner in Midtown. “I think at some point, I don’t know when, but we’ll have basketball again. I do have faith it will happen.”

He didn’t speak with the same positivity about the events currently raising incertitude in the Big East. As powerhouse schools Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced their plans to leave the conference for the ACC last week, Mullin appeared disappointed at the turn of events.

“It seems to me it’s not really basketball driven,” he said of the changes. “I liked the original Big East Conference, what we called ‘a basketball conference.’ There are some football factors now.”

But is an all-basketball conference the answer?

“It’s a possibility,” he said. “Is an all-basketball conference enough for those schools? With football, there’s more of everything. There’s more money, there’s more exposure, there’s more TV. I don’t have the answer for that.”

Meanwhile, Mullin, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last August, praised new St. John’s coach Steve Lavin for the progress he’s made since the team fired Norm Roberts in 2010.

“When you have a young team, you have to be a little patient, both as coaches and as fans,” he said. “I think [Lavin] is doing a great job.”

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