[caption id="attachment_14252" align="alignnone" width="600"] St. John's Athletics[/caption] The great city of New York is home to many things. Great food, beautiful architecture, endless amounts of sights to see and...did I mention the food? But for a city that seemingly has it all, it’s been missing one thing over the past few years. A continuously successful basketball team. Madison Square Garden—the Mecca, The World’s Most Famous Arena, MSG, whatever you wish to call it—is home to the New York Knicks, who have struggled over the past two seasons, and the St. John’s Red Storm, a team that finished dead last in the Big East with one conference win. But within the next couple of years, the struggles of New York City basketball could all change with the help of one man who is pretty familiar with the great city and St. John’s. That man is head coach of the Red Storm Chris Mullin, who took over as head coach this past season.
The first year of the Mullin era was not as impressive as fans wanted. His team, which was ranked last in the Big East’s preseason poll, finished 8-24 overall. But hey, it did beat Syracuse. Turning a program around doesn’t happen overnight, but Mullin has taken some of the necessary steps in order to do so. This starts with solid recruiting, and Mullin has been doing just that. St. John’s will welcome a top recruiting class next season and will look to turn heads once the season begins. At the top of the class is Shamorie Ponds, a 6’1” point guard from Brooklyn ranked No. 36 in the ESPN 100 and a player ESPN calls a “left-handed combo-guard who impacts the game with his scoring and passing.”
The Red Storm will also welcome 6’7” forward Bashir Ahmed and four-star 6’8” forward Richard Freudenberg. As transfer news began to swirl around the college basketball media circuit, one of the top transfers was Justin Simon, who just finished his freshman year at Arizona. Simon chose the Red Storm over Oklahoma State, Miami, New Mexico and Big East Rival Providence, who all showed interest in him. Simon will have to sit out one year due to NCAA regulations but will have three years of eligibility remaining. With a top-notch recruiting class and a talented transfer waiting on their bench, St. John’s will show glimpses of what they’re made of starting next season, and will only get bigger from there. Sure, Mullin didn’t have that much of a successful first season, but he’s slowly beginning to turn the program around. He came into the program when it was falling apart before the conference’s eyes, but with the players he’s beginning to bring in, he’s showing that St. John’s is going to become the place that the stars of the New York area and beyond will want to be a part of.
The Red Storm will bring the energy they were known for in the ‘80s and ‘90s back to the Big Apple in the near future, but we’ll just have to see if a different team that plays basketball at the Garden will do the same.
Olivia Mulvihill can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @OliviaMulvihill.