Rothstein Files: Five Observations From St. John’s-Detroit
By Jon Rothstein
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1. BOUNCE BACK
St. John’s star D’Angelo Harrison was in the news for all the wrong reasons during the past few weeks but he responded where it matters most — on the court. Harrison didn’t start but scored 22 points, 15 in the second half and led the Red Storm to a 77-74 come-from-behind win over a good Detroit team on Tuesday at Carnesecca Arena.
2. PHIL’S LEAP
All players make their biggest leaps from their freshman to sophomore years — but Phil Greene’s jump appears to be enormous. The Red Storm’s sophomore point guard regularly looked like the best player on the floor in Tuesday’s win against Detroit and displayed a certain aura and confidence that was missing last season. Knocking down outside shots and driving to the rim, Greene looks like he has the requisites to have a breakout season. He finished with an impressive 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists while playing all 40 minutes.
3. THE NEGATOR
There aren’t going to be many shot blockers in all of college basketball as capable of protecting the rim as St. John’s freshmanChris Obekpa. The 6-9 big man made a major impact in his first collegiate game, blocking a school record eight shots as well as altering several others as soon as he stepped on the floor. While his offense needs some work, Obekpa is already a game changer at one end of the floor and knocked down a key jump shot to ice the game with a minute left.
4. TITAN TOUGH
Detroit doesn’t have BCS level talent but they’re an extremely well coached team that should be right in the mix again in the Horizon League. Ray McCallum and Jason Calliste are two capable veteran guards and Doug Anderson is one of the better athletes in all of college basketball. You won’t want to see this team in your bracket in your first NCAA game if you reach the field of 68.
5. THE UNSUNG PRESENCE
He’s not going to be the first person opponents put in bold print on a scouting report but St. John’s sophomore forward Amir Garrett could wind up being huge for this group because of his intangibles. During the second half comeback on Tuesday against Detroit, Garrett has huge on the boards and made several key layups in transition. The lefty swing man finished with a double-double, tallying 15 points and 11 rebounds in the victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
The number of blocks by St. John’s freshman Chris Obekpa, a school record.
THEY SAID IT
“He’s as unique as anyone I’ve ever seen. It’s the length and the timing. He doesn’t pick up fouls. For a shot blocker, that’s really impressive.” – St. John’s coach Steve Lavin on Chris Obekpa.
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