St. John's Looking to Back Up Recruiting Victory With Win on Court | Zagsblog
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Friday / October 7.
  • St. John’s Looking to Back Up Recruiting Victory With Win on Court

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    St. John'sAfter scoring a major recruiting victory on Monday, St. John’s is now looking to get a win on the court 48 hours later at Providence.

    The Johnnies (11-4, 0-3 Big East) on Monday landed Louisiana shooting guard Brandon Sampson as their second recruit in the Class of 2015, temporarily halting some of the negative press they’re received in that regard.

    On the court, Steve Lavin’s club has dropped three games in a row and on Monday fell out of the Associated Press Top 25 poll after peaking at No. 15.

    When Joe Lunardi released his latest bracketology this week, St. John’s was not among the six Big East teams he had headed to the NCAA Tournament.

    “There is a lot of basketball ahead of us,” Lavin said. “We would like to be 15-0, 14-1, 13-2 or 12-3, but instead we are 11-4. We have to move forward and try and accumulate enough wins to do something special come March.”​

    A year ago, St. John’s started out 0-5 in the Big East, only to make a late surge before failing to make the NCAA Tournament.

    This year they believe they have a team capable of making the Big Dance, but most prove it on the court.

    Providence (13-4, 3-1) has won two straight, including Saturday’s 60-57 OT win over Georgetown in which Kris Dunn went for 16 points and 9 assists and LaDontae Henton put up 19 points and 7 boards.

    The 6-foot-6 Henton is averaging 21.2 points and 5.6 rebounds on the season.

    “Toward the end of last season it became evident that his game was developing in a dramatic fashion, so it’s not surprising that he is having this type of season as a senior,” Lavin said. “He is a unique talent who is tough minded and who forces teams to use a collective defensive approach in order to slow him down.”

    Dunn, meantime, was named the Big East Player of the Week after averaging 20.5 points, 7.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 40.5 minutes in the two Friar wins.

    The Johnnies, who are using a six-man rotation, can’t afford to fall to 0-4 in the league but will have their hands full with the surging Friars.

    “We have a lot of making up to do this season because we’ve dropped two at home,” senior forward Sir’Dominic Pointer said. “We’ve got to go on the road and win some games on other team’s home floors. This year, the conference can get seven teams in the NCAA Tournament. DePaul is at the top of the league right now and they’ve been near the bottom the last few years. This is a tough league from top to bottom and we need to start getting some wins.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.