By Jon Rothstein
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D’Angelo Harrison came to St. John’s with the reputation of being a dynamic scorer. Before his college career is over, he could also be viewed as a lethal facilitator.
Harrison, who the led the Red Storm in scoring last season as a freshman with an average of 16.8 PPG, seems primed for a monster season as a sophomore — and could flourish in a brand new role — point guard.
“Going back to recruiting him, that’s where I envisioned him playing,” St. John’s coach Steve Lavin said of Harrison. “He’ll get ample minutes as a lead guard for us. His goal this off-season was to develop his play making skills.”
The 6-foot-3 Harrison flourished as an off-guard for the Red Storm as a freshman, scoring over 20 points twelve times while proving he was one of the better first year players in America. Now entering his second season of college basketball, the Texas native will likely start at point guard for St. John’s until Texas A & M transfer Jamal Branch is eligible after the first semester in December.
With Moe Harkless now playing with the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA, there is a palpable feeling that St. John’s is Harrison’s team for the present as well as the foreseeable future.
“His overall leadership and maturity since the end of last year have been outstanding,” Lavin said of Harrison. “He’s embraced the role of being an extension of our coaching staff.”
And that’s something that will be necessary during the upcoming season. While Lavin has assembled an incredibly talented group with a potentially devastating baseline of JaKarr Sampson, Orlando Sanchez and Chris Obekpa, no one on the Red Storm roster has ever experienced team success at the collegiate level.
Still after a year in which they routinely only had six scholarship players for games, the added depth that St. John’s now possesses will alone make them a more formidable opponent than they were last season.
“Our roster has a nice balance of size, strength, length, quickness, and skill,” Lavin said. “It gives us options to put our team in position to win. What’s equally important is now our practices will now come closer to simulating game conditions. Fierce competition in practice shapes the mindset necessary to be successful in games.”
Will St. John’s be a contender this year? Be heard in the comments section below…