Tag Archives: Big East

New York Cosmos signs St. John’s midfielder Jimmy Mulligan


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy St. John’s Athletic Communications

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

A St. John’s Red Storm soccer player is blasting off to the Cosmos.

The New York Cosmos professional soccer team announced the signing of St. John’s senior midfielder and captain Jimmy Mulligan on Friday. The team, which won the NASL championship last year following a 30-year hiatus in the league, believes Mulligan will be a key role player.

“Jimmy is a young, promising midfielder who brings a lot of energy on the field,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “He’ll provide good depth on the squad and help add some healthy competition.”

Mulligan, 22, finished his Red Storm career by earning both third team NSCAA All-Northeast Region accolades and second team All-BIG EAST honors. In his senior year, Mulligan helped lead St. John’s to the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Mulligan was also the first St. John’s player to earn NSCAA/Adidas Scholar All-America honors since 2008.

“For any kid growing up it’s a dream to play for their local team,” Mulligan said. “As a New Yorker, I’m thrilled to be signing for the Cosmos and playing for a team with such a revered history.”

 

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Johnnies take season opener


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Celebrating head coach Steve Lavin’s return to the sideline, St. John’s opened the season with a block party.

In his collegiate debut, freshman Chris Obekpa broke the school record with eight blocks, leading the Johnnies to a 77-74 win in their season opener against Detroit on Tuesday, November 13.

“I just kept playing like the heat was on. I thought I played OK. It could have been better,” said Obeka of his performance. “I want to have 10 blocks next game.”

The Red Storm swatted 12 Detroit shots, falling one short of the team record set in 1982.

Expectations remain low for the Johnnies who did not give a minute to an upperclassmen in the opener and gave three freshmen significant playing time. The team finished 13-19 last year.

“There’s going to be stretches where you play brilliantly because you recruited well, but there’s also going to be stretches because of our youth where we do some things that drive a coach crazy, leave you pulling out your hair,” said Lavin, who returned to the bench after coaching just four games last season because of prostate cancer surgery, calling his team’s play “uneven.”

Big East coaches chose the youthful Johnnies to finish 10th in a preseason conference poll.

“We have guys who haven’t played in a game like this and to have them step up and make plays was amazing,” said sophomore D’Angelo Harrison.

Harrison paced St. John’s in points with 22 off the bench. The sophomore, who was named to the preseason All-Big East second team, was benched in the second preseason game after receiving limited minutes in the first for what Lavin called a lack of leadership qualities.

The 2 p.m. game was part of ESPN’s 24-hour college basketball opening day marathon.

The Johnnies now head to South Carolina for the DirecTV Charleston Classic beginning on November 15. The team returns home for a November 21 match up with Holy Cross.

Moe Harkless drafted by Philadelphia 76ers


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of St. John's University

After more than three months of waiting and debating, Moe Harkless is in the NBA.

The 6-foot-8 small forward who spent only one year playing at St. John’s was selected 15th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers – becoming the first Red Storm player in 12 years to be a first-round pick.

The Jamaica, Queens native joins other Red Storm alumni like Erick Barkley and Ron Artest to go in the first round. The highest draft pick in St. John’s history was Sonny Dove, who in 1967 was selected fourth-overall by the Detroit Pistons. The most recent draft pick produced by the school was Omar Cook, who went in the second round of the 2001 draft and now plays for the Montenegrin National Basketball Team.

Harkless was named the Big East Rookie of the Year while at St. John’s, where he flourished as a small forward and found his game on a team comprised mainly of freshman. When Harkless declared on March 19 that he would enter the draft, however, his size and experience were criticized.

Should the small forward see playing time this upcoming season, there is a good chance he’ll go against Charlotte Bobcats head coach and former St. John’s assistant coach Mike Dunlap — who coached Harkless during his single season in the NCAA, while Head Coach Steve Lavin was recovering from prostate cancer surgery.

When Harkless announced in March that he was entering the draft, he acknowledged that Lavin’s on-court absence this season was a factor in deciding to go to the next level. Regardless, Harkless said this week that he and Lavin had become more friends than player and coach.

“We became more friends as the season went on especially as he wasn’t coaching it was easier for me and him to have a relationship and I think we’ll be friends for a long time,” Harkless said.

After spending nearly his entire, young career playing in the tri-state area – three high school years at Forest Hills, his senior year at South Kent in Connecticut and a season in Jamaica – Harkless said leaving New York would be a change, but is ready to go anywhere the game takes him.

“It’d be different but it would definitely be a good experience and I’d be excited to go wherever,” he said.

Harkless said New York basketball players had not diminished in prominence; rather, this draft shows that New York still has a strong basketball presence.

“A lot of people say that New York basketball has fallen off and I think this indicates it hasn’t,” he said. “This definitely puts New York back on the map.”

 

Queens native and St. John’s freshman Moe Harkless declares for NBA Draft


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Harkless2

After an award-winning freshman season, Moe Harkless has decided to test the waters of the NBA draft.

The Queens native announced his decision on Monday, March 19 at Madison Square Garden alongside his mother Rosa and Red Storm head coach Steve Lavin.

“It has been my lifelong dream to play in the NBA, and I am excited to have that opportunity to make the jump,” said Harkless. “I am grateful to my teammates and coaches at St. John’s. I would like to thank Coach Lavin, our staff and my teammates for being there for me throughout the whole season.”

Draft projections have the 6-foot-8-inch small forward being picked in the middle of the first round.

Harkless capped his celebrated first season at St. John’s — he was sixth nationally among freshmen in scoring and third in rebounding — by being named the Big East Rookie of the Year.

A stat-sheet filler, Harkless finished with per game averages of 15.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks.

While many fans were excited about the direction the team was headed behind this year’s “Fresh 5,” Lavin has said that players leaving early for the NBA helps the program gain traction on the recruiting trail.

“We are proud of what Moe and our young group accomplished this season — Moe is an example that St. John’s is once again a destination for top-caliber talent and we look forward to following his progress,” Lavin said.

Speaking about his teammates, Harkless said, “We have been through a lot together and I know everyone is excited for me. I know if we all keep working hard, a lot of us will be playing together in the league someday. I believe this is only the beginning for Coach Lavin and his successful legacy at St. John’s.”

Next year’s team should return five of the six players in the Johnnies’ rotation and add Texas A&M transfer Jamal Branch. JaKarr Sampson has recommitted to the Red Storm after being declared academically ineligible before the season and the team also received a verbal commitment from Felix Balamou.

“I really enjoyed playing with Moe,” said D’Angelo Harrison who set the St. John’s record for points by a freshman. “He is a great player and I wish him luck and success in the NBA. I hope to join him in the league in a few years.”

The last Red Storm player to be drafted was Omar Cook in 2001. Cook, who was also a freshman when he entered the draft, is often touted as an example of college players leaving too early. He was taken in the second round and played in only 22 NBA games in his career.

Harkless can still return to St. John’s if he does not sign with an agent, though he is in the process of finding one. Players have until May 8 to withdraw from the draft which will be held on June 28.

 

Moe Harkless named Big East Rookie of the Week


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of St. John's University

St. John’s freshmen continue to rack up accolades as Moe Harkless was named the Big East’s Rookie of the Week, the conference announced.

This is Harkless’ second Rookie of the Week honor and the third time a Red Storm player has taken home the award this year.

The Queens native averaged 18 points per game and 9.5 rebounds while playing every minute of the Johnnies’ two wins last week, including their first victory over a top 25 team this season.

St. John’s (13-16, 6-10 Big East) had lost their first 10 games against ranked opponents this year before besting 18th-ranked Notre Dame on Saturday 61-58 at Madison Square Garden. Earlier in the week the Johnnies defeated DePaul 79-72 at Carnesecca Arena during Senior Night.

For the Johnnies this year, though, it has been almost all freshmen. The team plays only one junior and starts five freshmen — the “Fresh Five.”

Harkless was not the only “Fresh Five” member to have a big week. D’Angelo Harrison played all but one minute over the team’s two games, averaging 19 points, and is now within six points of the Johnnies freshmen scoring record set by Erick Barkley in 1999.

Harrison will most likely not be the only freshmen to surpass the mark, as Harkless is just 40 points shy of the record with two games and the Big East tournament to go.

Harrison and Harkless are first and second in the conference in freshmen scoring, respectively, and Harkless leads all Big East freshmen in rebounding.

The Red Storm finish up their conference slate at Pittsburgh on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. and at Rutgers on Saturday at 8 p.m.

 

St. John’s trounced by Syracuse 95-70


| brennison@queenscourier.com

St. John’s-Syracuse games at MadisonSquareGarden often have a buzz as both squads’ lay claim to being New York’s team. This day though belonged to second-ranked Syracuse as the Orange (23-1, 10-1 Big East) trounced the Red Storm (10-13, 4-7) 95-70.  Throughout the game – especially in the second half – the sold-out Garden sounded more like the Carrier Dome –Syracuse’s home court.

Chants of “Let’s go Orange” filled Syracuse’s “second home” as the team increased their lead, continually getting easy baskets.

St. John’s has now played nine ranked teams this year – including the number one and number two teams in the nation – losing each game. The Johnnies beat six ranked opponents last year.

The Johnnies fell behind early and could never claw their way back into the game. Confronted with the same situation they faced against Duke a week prior – trailing by more than 20 points against a top 10 team – St. John’s could not make the stops they needed to go on a sustained run. 

Syracuse’s size allowed them to play above the rim and get the shots they wanted all game – the team shot 56 percent from the field and had 52 points in the paint.

“We moved the ball really well,” said Jim Boeheim, who tied Dean Smith for third place on the all-time wins list with 879. “We got really good shots every time down the court.”

 “Beginning, middle and end, they dominated us on the boards and they converted off of those second chance points,” said assistant coach Mike Dunlap, who continues to fill in for Steve Lavin as he recovers from prostate cancer surgery.

The Orange grabbed 16 of their 31 misses converting many second chance scoring opportunities.

Any hopes of a Red Storm comeback were squelched within the second half’s first two and a half minutes as the Orange went on a 9-0 run and Moe Harkless picked up his third and fourth fouls forcing him to the bench.

The Johnnies were never able to get within 20 after the Orange’s early second half run.

St. John’s all-freshmen starting lineup – the “Fresh Five” – was not on the court at the opening tip for the first time in four games as D’Angelo Harrison was late for the bus and sat out the opening 2 minutes.

After being held scoreless over the game’s first three minutes and thirty seconds, Syracuse went on a 12-2 run to take a lead they never relinquished.  A 6-0 run to end the first half pushed the Orange’s lead into double digits and then their 9-0 run to open the second half put the game out of reach.

The 95 points was the most St. John’s has given up all year and the most a Big East team has scored in a conference game this season.

Harrison led the Johnnies with 23 points and added five assists and four rebounds.

Fab Melo – in his first game back from suspension – Dion Waiters and C.J. Fair led 10 Orange in the scoring column with 14 points

St. John’s next faces Cincinnati (15-7, 5-4) on Wednesday, February 8 at MSG.  The Johnnies defeated the Bearcats earlier this year 57-55 atCincinnati.

Harkless wins Big East Rookie of the Week


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of St. John's University

Following last week’s win over West Virginia, St. John’s assistant coach Mike Dunlap remarked that freshman Moe Harkless deserved more acknowledgement, “but Moe is a great player and he is going to get his recognition.”

Dunlap was right.

Harkless was named Big East Rookie of the Week after collecting his seventh and eighth double-doubles of the season, which included a 30 point, 13 rebound performance at Duke — the most points scored by a freshman at Cameron Indoor Stadium in 16 years.

The Queens native averaged 26.5 points on over 58 percent shooting while pulling down 13 boards each game during the week of January 22. He is the second Red Storm frosh to earn the honor this season. D’Angelo Harrison took home the award on January 9, ending an eight-year drought for Johnnies freshmen.

This season, the former Forest Hills High School star has been among the best freshmen in the country — his 16.6 points per game and 8.8 rebounds rank fourth and third nationally among freshmen.

The honor comes during the same week the Johnnies trotted out a starting lineup featuring all first-year players — the “Fresh Five.” It is believed to be the first time St. John’s started five freshmen since the school’s famed “Wonder Five” in the late 1920s.

In the week’s first game, Harkless matched up with front-runner for Big East player of the year, Kevin Jones, and scored 23 points while grabbing 13 rebounds — which led Jones to say after the game that he was impressed with the young forward.

“He has a chance to be a real good player,” he said.

On Saturday, the Johnnies traveled to Duke to face the sixth-ranked Blue Devils. Harkless led all players with 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds,and was a driving force in cutting a 22 point deficit to just four with 20 seconds left before falling 83-76.

St. John’s next faces the second-ranked Syracuse Orange at MSG on Saturday, February 4 at noon.

St.John’s ends skid, beats West Virginia 78-62


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The youth movement – which had been in effect all season for St. John’s– might now need a nickname.

Playing possibly their most complete game of the season, St. John’s (9-11, 3-6 Big East) defeated West Virginia (15-6, 5-3), 78-62.

Halfway through the Big East schedule, the young team –St. John’s starting lineup consisted of all freshman – learned losses could quickly pile up during conference play.  The team had lost four in a row and six of seven.

“You have to play have to play hard for 40 minutes in the Big East,” said Harrison.  “No game is safe.”

The all freshmen lineup is one Head Coach Steve Lavin has been discussing in team meetings, telling Assistant Coach Mike Dunlap to go with it when he felt it.

Dunlap has taken the reins of the team as Lavin recovers from prostate cancer surgery.

While rare for a program to start five freshmen, it is not unprecedented.

“Unfortunately, in 1992 I saw the Fab Five and I didn’t like that much,” West Virginia Head Coach Bob Huggins said after the game.  “I didn’t like this a whole lot more.”

St. John’s trotted out their own version of famed freshmen dubbed the “Wonder Five” in the late 1920s.

The still-developing team jumped out to an early lead for the third time in the last four games, but this time out was able to sustain that lead.  

Prior to the game Dunlap laid out three goals for the team: play West Virginia even on the boards, run and make adjustments during the game – the team has struggled closing out games recently.

The Red Storm out rebounded West Virginia 25-18 in the first half while jumping out to a 16-point lead; they out scored the Mountaineers 22-5 in fast break points; and after the game Dunlap said he was pleased with the team’s defensive energy in the second half.

The Johnnies held West Virginia to just three of 14 shooting over the games first 12 minutes, allowing them to take an early 21-6 lead.  The Mountaineers, who never got closer than nine in the second half, shot below 36 percent from the field for only the third time this year.

Moe Harkless led four Johnnies in double figures with 23 points.

Harkless outplayed West Virginia’s Kevin Jones, the Big East’s leading scorer and rebounder, on both ends of the floor in the first half while the Johnnies built their lead.  Jones, a favorite for the Big East Player of the Year award, did most of his damage in the second half with the game out of reach, scoring 20 of his 26 points. 

Speaking about Harkless after the game, the senior Jones said the first-year player impressed him and had a chance to develop into a really good player.

Harkless, 13 rebounds, recorded his seventh double double while adding three blocks.  Phil Greene finished with a season-high 8 assists.

“Today we just played great,” Harkless said.  “We’re getting better every game.”

The Johnnies now travel to Duke to take on the #6/8 Blue Devils Saturday at noon. St. John’s defeated Duke at MSG last season 93-78.

D’Angelo Harrison named Big East Rookie of the Week


| brennison@queenscourier.com

After averaging more than 20 points and seven rebounds, St. John’s freshman phenom D’Angelo Harrison was named the Big East Rookie of the Week.

The guard led the Red Storm (8-7, 3-2 Big East)  in scoring in both the team’s games last week — a loss at MSG to No. 11/10 Louisville and a win at Cincinnati, snapping the Bearcats seven-game winning streak.  Harrison played in 79 of a possible 80 minutes during last week’s action.

For the week Harrison averaged 21 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals.

The Texas native leads all Big East freshmen in scoring — 16 ppg — and is 12th overall in the conference.

Harrison is the first player to earn this honor since Cardozo graduate Daryll Hill in February 2004.

The Johnnies next play at No. 25/24 Marquette (12-4, 1-2) on Wednesday, January 11 at 7 p.m.

Diamond Club: St. John’s releases 2012 baseball schedule


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of St. John’s University

Baseball fans found some cleats and bats in their stockings this month as St. John’s announced the Red Storm’s schedule for the coming 2012 season.

The 56-game season stretch includes 24 home games and features the fourth annual Big Ten-Big East Challenge, as well as a total of 11 games against teams that participated in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

Head coach Ed Blankmeyer said the high caliber of opponents is significant this season and his team will work hard to match intensity, game by game.

“This is a tough schedule comprised of great RPI [Ratings Percentage Index] teams and tough road trips, but that’s the type of schedule we want to play and we’re excited for the challenge,” said Blankmeyer, who enters into his 17th season as head coach this year. “Our hope is that the rigors of playing a tough schedule prepare us to reach our goals, which are always to win the conference regular season and tournament crowns, and to compete in the NCAA Tournament.”

The season opens with three games in Florida as part of the Big Ten-Big East Challenge. The Red Storm will face 2011 Big Ten regular season co-champions Michigan State (February 17) to open the season before facing Minnesota (February 18) for the third-consecutive season. St. John’s will conclude its opening weekend against Illinois (February 19), the defending Big Ten Tournament champions and co-regular season champions.

St. John’s then heads to Lubbock, Texas, for three games as part of the Texas Tech-hosted Brooks Wallace Memorial Classic. After playing host Texas Tech (February 24), St. John’s takes on Northern Illinois (February 25) before wrapping up the weekend with another game against the Red Raiders (February 26).

After a pair of midweek contests against North Carolina (February 28), a 2011 College World Series squad, and UNC Wilmington (February 29), the Red Storm travels to Conway, S.C. for the Coastal Carolina Invitational. St. John’s opens the Invitational with a non-conference matchup against Big East foe Pittsburgh (March 2) before taking on Coastal Carolina (March 3). The third game of the Invitational against Illinois (March 4) will be played in Myrtle Beach at BB&T Coastal Field, home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Texas Rangers).

St. John’s returns to the Tri-State area for a midweek game at Fairfield (March 7) before heading south and concluding its season-opening 15-game road trip with a three-game set at Liberty (March 9-11).

Following a midweek home-opener against FDU (March 14), the Red Storm hosts the inaugural Red Storm Baseball Tournament (March 16-18). St. John’s will play Albany (March 16) before another matchup against the Great Danes (March 17) opens a double-header that includes a matchup between Albany and Holy Cross. The Red Storm opens another double-header with a game against Holy Cross (March 18) that precedes a contest between the Crusaders and Great Danes.

After concluding a five-game home stand with a midweek game against LIU (March 21), the Red Storm opens Big East play on the road with a three-game set at Villanova (March 23-25).

St. John’s returns to Queens for the next four games, hosting Maryland (March 28) in midweek action before welcoming West Virginia (March 30-April 1) for a three-game Big East set.

The Red Storm is on the road for the next four games. After traveling to Staten Island for a midweek contest against Wagner (April 3) at Richmond County Bank Stadium, home of the Staten Island Yankees (Class-A affiliate of the New York Yankees), St. John’s heads to New Jersey for a BIG EAST series with Rutgers (April 5-7).

A season-long six-game home stand is next on the schedule for St. John’s. Following a pair of midweek games against Columbia (April 10) and Hofstra (April 11), the Red Storm hosts a three-game series with 2011 NCAA Super Regional participants Connecticut (April 13-15). St. John’s hosts Princeton (April 18), another NCAA Tournament squad, to conclude the home stand.

St. John’s next embarks on a seven-game road trip that begins with a three-game set at Cincinnati (April 20-22). The Red Storm then takes on Boston College (April 24) in a neutral site game in Norwich, Connecticut, that will be played at Dodd Stadium, the home of the Connecticut Tigers (Class-A Short Season affiliate of the Detroit Tigers). St. John’s concludes the road trip with a three-game set at Notre Dame (April 27-29).

The Red Storm returns home to host Iona (April 30) before welcoming USF (May 4-6) for a three-game series. After hosting NYIT (May 9), St. John’s takes to the road for a three-game set at Louisville (May 11-13).

St. John’s concludes the regular season with a four-game homestand. After facing Marist (May 15) for the first time since 1992, the Red Storm hosts Seton Hall (May 17-19) in a rematch of the 2011 Big East Tournament championship game.

The Big East Tournament runs from May 23-27 and will once again be held in Clearwater, Florida, at Bright House Field.

 - with St. John’s University