St. John's Picked to Finish Sixth in Big East

(Picture provided by Big East Conference, Kristin Quinn)

New York, NY--An NCAA tournament bid in the 2014-15 season with then head coach Steve Lavin, ended in a defeat by San Diego State in the first round. Mutually parting ways with Lavin after the season, led to a hiring of the face of the Johnnies in 1985, and NBA Hall of Famer, Chris Mullin. His first season at the helm of his alma-mater was one to forget with an 8-24 overall record.

Fast forward three seasons later to the 2017-18 season, the Johnnies are in place to finish 6th in the Big East Preseason Coaches Poll. Two seasons ago in 2015-16, the Johnnies won a lone single game in Big East play. They improved that number by 7 with wins against the Big East.

One of the greatest backcourts in all of Division I in the NCAA that consists of Brooklyn native Shamorie Ponds, along with redshirt sophomore Marcus LoVett, are ready to make an impact on the Big East and the rest of the country. Transfer students who sat out last season included two high impact players that most Johnnies fans have been waiting for ever since they signed here. Former Arizona guard Justin Simon, along with the former Michigan State beefy forward in Marvin Clark II. Clark and Simon, are ready to make an immediate impact for the Johnnies, as they expect to join the starting lineup on November 10th vs. New Orleans at Carnesecca Arena.

LoVett and Ponds averaged 15.9 PPG, and 17.4 PPG respectively for their squad as freshman. They both were named to the Big East All Freshman Second Team during Big East Media Day last Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. With a full season under their belt, they are ready to strive with a full projected lineup of: Shamorie Ponds, Marcus LoVett, Justin Simon, Marvin Clark II, Tariq Owens.

Projected Lineup/Rotation for SJU

G- (2) Shamorie Ponds

G- (20) Marcus LoVett

G- (5) Justin Simon

F- (13) Marvin Clark II

F- (11) Tariq Owens

G- (12) Bryan Trimble Jr.

G- (1) Bashir Ahmed

F- (14) Kassoum Yakwe

F- (10) Amar Alibegovic

I-95 Sports Network asked Villanova's Jalen Brunson his thoughts on the St. John's backcourt and his expectations for the two times he plays them. "These two Shamorie and Marcus, I think they are going to be a handful when we play them. One of the best backcourts in the nation. I think that when we play them, we just need to focus on Villanova basketball vs. the Johnnies."

Looking at the schedule for New York's team in Queens, they begin play at home for the first four games of the season. Then they head to Orlando for the Advocare Invitational vs. Oregon State for a round robin tournament. Multiple tournaments include Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. December 28th, begins Big East play. The biggest game on the schedule includes Coach K's Duke Blue Devils on February 3rd. Big East Tournament play begins one month later on March 7th-10th at Madison Square Garden.

St. John's opens up their season vs. New Orleans in non-conference play at Carnesecca Arena on November 10th, at 7:00pm (FOX College Sports/WSJU)

Joseph Jarzynka