Chris Mullin Hire A Great One For St. John’s Red Storm


Chris Mullin Returning To St. John’s Is A Win For Everyone Involved

That noise you hear is a collective yelp of excitement from anyone involved with the St. John’s Red Storm basketball program or their fans. The excitement comes because they finally got their man to be the new head coach; former Red Storm great Chris Mullin.

Mullin is arguably the greatest player in the program’s history, and off the resume from his college playing days alone, younger St. John’s fans can be convinced of his greatness. Mullin won Big East player of the year three times during his St. John’s tenure, adding two All-American choices in his junior and senior year before also being named the Wooden Award winner his senior year.

He averaged 19.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists during his Red Storm tenure, which helped make him the seventh overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. Mullin’s greatness on the court would continue in the NBA, as he was named to five consecutive All-Star Games from 1989-1993, was a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner, and is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

That alone is all Mullin should need when he begins his first recruiting trips as the head coach for St. John’s. There is a strong chance many of the kid’s homes that he will be going into will have no idea who he is, but once he starts rattling off those accolades he will need to help close the open mouths of the players he is attempting to recruit to his alma mater. There aren’t many people in the world that have a basketball resume as impressive as that one, and it could be a give Mullin a distinct advantage over many of the coaches that will be going after these same kids.

Mullin has no prior coaching experience, as he has been working in the front offices of the Warriors and Sacramento Kings most recently. That isn’t a problem for one of the most recognizable and beloved figures in St. John’s history, former head coach Lou Carnesecca.

Carnesecca believes this is an outstanding hire for St. John’s and is also confident that he can get the job done.

"“I’m just delighted, and I think a lot of people feel the same way. I think this is the most popular choice ever at St. John’s. People worry about the lack of experience, but Chris has been around so many great players and coaches. I told him, ‘If you ever stopped and wrote down everything you know about basketball, you would fill volumes.”"

Carnesecca is spot on with that assessment, as Mullin as a wealth of knowledge when it comes to basketball. He may not have the coaching experience of some of the people he will be going up against, but he will make up that gap with the knowledge he possess. Surrounding himself with strong assistants will be a must to help out the process as well as Mullin learns the recruiting trail and how to develop college players from high schoolers.

Having experience around him will be extremely important, because he could be left with very little in the way of experience and talent on the court. This past season the Red Storm was senior-laden, as they will be without the graduating D’Angelo Harrison, Sir’Dominic Pointer, Phil Greene IV and Jamal Branch next season. The future of Chris Obekpa and Rysheed Jordan are also up in the air, as both could jump to the NBA.

Feb 28, 2015; New York, NY, USA; St. John’s Red Storm head coach Seve Lavin with players during the second half against the Georgetown Hoyas at Madison Square Garden. St. John’s Red Storm won 81-70. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

To make things even more difficult, ESPN Top 100 recruit Brandon Sampson reopened his recruitment once Lavin and St. John’s parted ways, leaving the incoming class a lot more lackluster than it looked last week.

Experience could be the only thing naysayers could use when analyzing this hire, as it is really hard to say a negative thing about it right now. Bringing back possibly the best player the program has ever had will be a boon for the fan base. They have been looking to relive the glory days that Mullin led them to in 1985 when he led St. John’s to the Final Four. He will give them a link back to those days, as some people have yet to come out of them.

Which brings us to the other reason this could be a good hire. Say things do not go well with Mullin as the head man. It could finally be the last straw to break the camel’s back, making people realize the glory days are just that; glory days. It is time to move on and make wholesale changes to how things are done instead of living in the past.

The Big East isn’t what it was back then, the level of skill of the players coming out of New York isn’t nearly the same, and how St. John’s is viewed by potential recruits, other coaches and the media in general isn’t the same.

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But with Mullin now on board, there will be an aura back around the campus. He will bring some of the St. John’s swagger back from their glory days, which is what the fan base is desperate to have. That will get them through what could be a tough 2015-16 season without their senior leaders from this season, and little in the way of recruits coming in. After that, the Red Storm faithful could be faced with the reality to keep their glory days in the past.

We will have to wait to see how that turns out though. For now, St. John’s and their fans deserve to celebrate a little as Mullin is returning to campus to help turn things around.

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