Rysheed Jordan Departure A Big Blow For St. John’s Red Storm


Rysheed Jordan departing St. John’s leaves Chris Mullin and the Red Storm with a huge hole in their backcourt that will not be easy to fill

Going into the 2015-16 season, Rysheed Jordan was expected to be an integral part of the first St. John’s Red Storm team rookie head coach Chris Mullin would be coaching. Jordan, and potentially Chris Obekpa, were expected to be the only returning players from this past season’s team that had extensive playing time last season. Mullins was going to rely on them to lead their younger less experienced teammates.

Obekpa has his own issues to deal with after being suspended for St. John’s NCAA Tournament game in March, clouding his future with the program. Mullin hopes he will return, because he will be without Jordan, who mutually agreed to part ways with the program earlier in the week, leaving a huge hole in the backcourt.

“We support Rysheed and wish him well in his professional endeavors,” Mullin said in a statement that was released. “He has the potential to play at the highest level of our sport.”

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There is no doubt about that, as Jordan was a highly touted prospect coming out of Philadelphia three years ago. He was a top-20 prospect in that class and looked at as a potential lottery pick in the NBA. He never fully realized that potential, as some off court issues caused inconsistencies on it, but he was still rather productive on the court.

Jordan averaged 14.1 points per game, second on the team, to go with 3.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.7 steals in 30.7 minutes per game. That type of production will not be easy to replace, as the Red Storm were senior laden last season. D’Angelo Harrison, Phil Greene IV and Jamal Branch have all moved on, as well as playmaking, do it all forward Sir’Dominic Pointer. Because of that, Jordan was to be relied upon heavily to carry the offense and lead what was to be a very young Red Storm team next season.

But, now that will have to change as Jordan will be moving onto the professional ranks. After St. John’s lost their first game in the tournament to San Diego State, Jordan returned home to Philadelphia and mulled putting his name into the NBA Draft. He opted against that, deciding to return to Queens. But, sources say that he neglected his school work, which was reflected by his grades, and he was to miss the first part of the season because he was academically ineligible. That prompted this move to the professional ranks, leaving St. John’s with a huge hole in the backcourt.

At this point in the process, Mullin is kind of behind the eight-ball. Unlike the professionals where you can go to the free agent market and sign another player, no such thing exists in college basketball for Mullin has to use what he has available to him. St. John’s is still in the running for Italian guard Federico Mussini, who is also being pursued by Gonzaga, but as they learned with Amar Alibegovic international players have a learning curve when coming over. They also have a transfer from Missouri State, Ron M’Vouika, who has the ability to play point guard but that is not his natural position.

Mar 7, 2015; Villanova, PA, USA; St. John’s Red Storm guard Felix Balamou (10) dunks the ball in a game against the Villanova Wildcats at Wells Fargo. Villanova won 105-68. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Two holdovers from last season, Felix Balamou and Myles Stewart, could be forced into more playing time at point guard. Last season they played sparingly, but with very few other options they could find their way into a pretty prominent role this season. Balamou only appeared in 22 games, averaging 9.2 minutes per game while Stewart appeared in 20 for 4.8 minutes per game. Both players could easily double their minutes per game this season.

But, the one player who will have the most responsibility fall upon his shoulders will be Marcus LoVett. The four-star point guard is graduating from high school today, and is scheduled to qualify according to his head coach Nick Irvin. LoVett could be pressed into a starting role right out of the gate, which is something Irvin says shouldn’t phase LoVett.

“He loves that type of pressure. He can handle anything you throw at him. Marcus has been playing at a high level all his life. He’s got the special nickname for it anyway: Bright Lights. He loves the moment.”

Mullin and St. John’s has to hope that continues, as they will be relying much more on LoVett than they originally thought. Jordan was expected to soak up many of the minutes in the backcourt, which would have done well for the other players to come along as role players at first to grow and adapt. But, that is no longer an option, as the Red Storm will now be relying on all the players mentioned above, especially the incoming Freshman LoVett, to grow up fast and provide production right away. This is certainly not how Mullin had envisioned his first year as head coach going, but he will have to adapt and make things work without what would have been arguably his best player in Jordan.

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