Tag Archives: St. John’s Red Storm

St. John’s men’s baseball season ends in regional round


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy St. John's Athletics

The St. John’s Red Storm saw their season come to an end on Sunday when they lost to the Arkansas Razorbacks, 4-3, in the finals of the Stillwater Regional bracket of the NCAA Tournament at Reynolds Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The Red Storm finish the season with an overall record of 41-16 as the Stillwater Regional finalists, Big East Tournament champions and Big East regular season champions.

The game was a close contest throughout and Arkansas managed to score a run in the ninth inning to seal the victory and knock St. John’s out of the tournament.

It was a scoreless game heading into the fifth inning, when the Razorbacks grabbed the lead. They led off the inning with back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third base. Arkansas’ catcher, Tucker Pennell, hit a sacrifice fly, bringing in one run, and left fielder, Joseph Serrano added an RBI single to give the Razorbacks a 2-0 lead.

Arkansas increased their lead to 3-0 in the top of the sixth when Tyler Spoon launched a solo home run off Red Storm relief pitcher Shawn Heide.

St. John’s managed to get on the scoreboard with a two-run sixth inning. Center fielder Alex Caruso worked a leadoff walk and second baseman, Robert Wayman, reached base on a throwing error, but the ball soared into the dugout and Caruso was awarded home, while Wayman was given second. Michael Donadio then smacked an RBI single to right field, cutting the Razorbacks’ lead to 3-2.

The Red Storm led off the seventh inning with a single from Jarred Mederos. He quickly stole second base and scored on an RBI single by Robbie Knighties to tie the game at three runs apiece.

In the top of the ninth, Arkansas had runners on first and second before a sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position. After an intentional walk loaded the bases, Serrano lined a one-out RBI single into left to give the Razorbacks a 4-3 lead.

Arkansas’ closer, Zach Johnson, struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth for the save and the win.

Wayman, Knightes and first baseman Matt Harris were each named to the Stillwater Regional All-Tournament Team at their respective positions after St. John’s was eliminated from tournament play.

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St. John’s men’s baseball heads to the NCAA Tournament


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy St. John's Athletics

The St. John’s Red Storm, with a record of 39-14, has earned the No. 4 seed in the Stillwater Regional bracket in the NCAA Tournament. This comes on the heels of winning their conference-record eighth BIG EAST Tournament earlier this month.

Included in their region are No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 2 Arkansas and No. 3 Oral Roberts.

St. John’s is tied for ninth all-time with 35 NCAA Tournament appearances, including eight trips in the past 12 seasons, and nine appearances under head coach Ed Blankmeyer.

The Red Storm will be taking a 15-game winning streak into the NCAA Tournament, tied as the second-longest active streak in the country.

“It’s nice to be back in an NCAA Tournament Regional,” Blankmeyer said. “This [Stillwater] Regional should be tremendously competitive. Our guys have worked hard to get to this point and are excited for the opportunity to continue the season.”

Oklahoma State earned an at-large bid into the tournament out of the Big 12 with a 37-18 record, while Arkansas also made the field as an at-large selection out of the SEC, boasting a record of 35-22. Oral Roberts has an impressive 41-14 record and secured an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament by winning the Summit League championship.

St. John’s will open the NCAA Tournament against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Friday at 7 p.m.

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St. John’s men’s basketball team all grown up


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

St. John’s basketball head coach Steve Lavin once said it would take about “three or four” years to build back the Johnnies’ program.

Now in his fourth year as head coach, Lavin was optimistic at the annual St. John’s basketball media day on Thursday, October 10, because the Red Storm has a full set of returning players, plus new talents like never before.

“The last three-plus years was to put our program in position,” Lavin said. “We now feel we can be competitive, because we have the artillery and the firepower to be on more equal footing to the competition.”

After a spring of practicing and a summer playing basketball in Europe, the Johnnies, which were once the youngest team in school history, are all grown up. The Red Storm’s leading scorer junior guard D’Angelo Harrison’s behavior behind the scenes last season eventually got him kicked off the squad at an essential time. This time around, he said he’s changed his ways.

“Knowing how I used to act and the way I am today, now I can see,” Harrison said. “I can honestly say I thank Lavin for what he did.”

A whole cast of Johnnies who were prominent in last year’s National Invitational Tournament appearance will be returning, including the country’s leading shot blocker, sophomore center Chris Obekpa, reigning Big East Conference Rookie of the Year Jakarr Sampson, junior Sir’Dominic Pointer and combo guard Phil Greene IV.

A fresh set of players will also join them for this season, including senior Orlando Sanchez, a 6’9” forward from the Dominican Republic, who hopes to provide stability to the front court.

Sophomore transfer Max Hooper, a three-point specialist, will help the Red Storm from behind the arch, which they desperately needed last season. Also, after redshirting last season, forward God’sgift Achiuwa will return to the Red Storm, and said taking a year off actually improved his game.

“I was able to watch the game from the sideline,” Achiuwa said. “So now I have good perspective of a basketball game. I have an overview of what basketball is all about from every angle.” 

The team’s only true freshman, point guard Rysheed Jordan who was missing in action at the media event, is one of the nation’s top recruits, rated 17 in the country by ESPNU. Jordan hopes to help the back court with scoring.

With this armament of talent for the Johnnies, it seems like the only problem might be how to distribute minutes on the court.
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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.