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November 23, 2013

All Net! Greene IV knocks them down





"Net!"

That's what I heard from a fan in the stands from where I was sitting in the gym. Phil Greene IV was just about to release the ball on a jump shot about 17 feet away from the basket. Greene let the shot go and about a second later you could see and hear the swish of a made basket.

Net!

Was the fan psychic, or was he a bit more scientific in his prediction?

If you've been paying attention to the last couple of St. John's games, you would notice that Greene IV has been close to automatic recently. When his team needed a basket last night against Monmouth, he was practically automatic. The St. John's junior guard made 9 out of 12 shots in the Red Storm 64-54 victory. He knocked down a lot of perimeter shots and a lot of them were necessary. So it was pretty easy to predict

Monmouth was a tough out for St. John's, with the Red Storm actually trailing with less than 10 minutes left in the game. Of course I didn't see any worrying from the Johnnies. They actually play with a lot of confidence and you can probably chalk that up to experience.

What I did see from St. John's was a sense of urgency. They knew they had to get it done. I'm pretty sure they didn't want to lose to Monmouth or anybody before they get a chance to get to league play. Greene made shot after shot against Monmouth and head coach Steve Lavin made sure Greene and his 22 points stayed on the floor pretty much the whole game. He was a steadying influence and as I stated before, anytime his team needed a bucket, he got it for them.

Big shots all night from the Chicago native. He is definitely one of the Johnnies most clutch players. I wonder if this is the way it's going to be for the rest of his college career.

Of course Greene wasn't alone. JaKarr Sampson was impressive last night also. He made a few perimeter jumpers which just makes him a more dangerous player. He already is a problem when he attacks the basket, but if that midrange jumper is starting to click, the expectations for when the Red Storm season will end will just grow. It most certainly will end in the NCAA tournament, but after how many games? I'm looking past the NIT this year. I don't want to see this team with this nucleus in the silver bracket. You have to go for the gold.

D'Angelo Harrison didn't even play half the game because of foul trouble, but still finished second on the team in points. Harrison also drained back-to-back treys during crunch time. He is one of the best scorers in college basketball. He fills it up and of course has the green light. He's pretty much indispensable for St. John's. He gets them a lot of buckets when the team might be struggling. Maybe Greene has decided to join him. It will make things that much easier for Harrison.

I didn't think it was beneficial for St. John's to not dominate the game last night. They already have the confidence that they were better than Monmouth, so a close game may not scare them enough to make them a better team. A loss would have been extra devastating and more of a teachable moment, than a 10 point win over a MAAC team would be.

But a win is a win. So I guess you can't nitpick about it. Still, if I was directly associated with the program it would feel like a pebble in my sock, extremely irritating. It's substance but you have to have a little style to go with it. A ten point win over Monmouth was not stylish.

One player that was missing from the party last night was freshman Rysheed Jordan. About two hours before the game, a press release went out saying that Jordan was suspended for the game. Lavin was quoted saying that he was "hopeful Jordan would meet his responsibilities and rejoin the team on the court."

That's not a lot to go on. But Jordan was nowhere to be seen. Not on the bench watching the game. Let's hope Jordan does what he's supposed to. It would be nice to see him play with this current bunch of Johnnies. I think it will put the team in a different class if he plays up to his talent.

It's unfortunate, but he can't play up to his talent if he can't even play.





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