Accountability at St. John's

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Re: Accountability at St. John's

Postby SJHooper » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:00 pm

NJRedman, "junior"? What are you going to do next, tell me to get off your lawn? Part of the reason much of the SJ fanbase is so out of touch and annoying is because they are mostly over the hill guys with kids my age if not older still referring to the team as the "Redmen" even though it was dropped 20+ yrs ago. They are from an era where we were nationally respected and relevant culminating in a Final Four run. So because of that, you just expect that we will get back there since it happened in your lifetime. Anyone in the mid to late 20's like me have never witnessed St. John's as anything other than a mediocre to putrid team with maybe 1 or 2 blips of real success. And you are the one acting like I'm spoiled sitting through the Lavin and Mullin era. The real spoiled ones are the fans old enough to have seen us on top of the college basketball world. Ok gramps? And while you're at it, keep telling an actual psychologist about psychology and I'll tell an NHL player how to play hockey, even though I've never played before.

I think what I'm seeing here is proof of my assertion: there is zero accountability at St. John's and this extends from the greater fan base to the administration of the school. It really is no wonder then why we have not seen results in decades. Any time a SJ fan even suggests that this team should be better or that maybe Mullin is not the answer, they become alleged communists or witches back in the Salem days. I just saw a guy Ray Morgan get blasted on Redmen for suggesting that we should be doing better and maybe Mullin was not a great hire after all. People who suggest we need to do better and may need a new coach are accused of having a mental disorder. Is this really where we are at? It just proves the desperate need for my question above.
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Re: Accountability at St. John's

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Re: Accountability at St. John's

Postby Bill Marsh » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:03 pm

Hall2012 wrote:
SJHooper wrote:
Hall2012 wrote:Hooper, for your own sanity you need to try to avoid the extreme highs and lows of your emotions regarding this St. John's team. After a bad loss, the team is a disaster and everyone needs to be fired. After a big win, such as Butler, the team turned a corner and they're gonna finish in the top half of the conference. Fact of the matter is that neither of those are true. Pretty much every relevant player on your team this year is a freshman (and far from Kentucky-type freshmen) and the results you're seeing this year (as many have said here) are pretty much exactly what should be expected - a lot of ups and downs, but likely more downs. The Johnnies are likely going to get run out of the gym a few more times this year. They're also likely to get another big upset win or 2. I think there's a pretty decent chance St. John's will upset Seton Hall this year. If the SJU home game was at Carnesecca instead of MSG, I'd actually be expecting a loss.

Things will get better. Last year was just a wasted season, this year is the start of the rebuild. They're showing flashes of potential but tons of inconsistency. The consistency comes with experience, of which your coach and players currently have none. To expect Mullin (who came into the job with zero head coaching experience at any level) to get into the postseason in his first few years is not realistic. The SJU brass certainly knew this and (as frustrating as it is for the fans) likely view the Mullin era as a long term rebuilding process rather than the quick fix they attempted with Lavin.

Seton Hall did the same thing with Kevin Willard. After the failed Bobby G quick fix that buried the program in PR nightmares, the Pirates turned to Willard for a slow methodical rebuild. The first 5 years brought nothing but a single NIT birth and fans were beyond frustrated, but it paid off in year 6 with a Big East Championship. Now in year 7 they have a realistic chance to defend that title and barring a mass exodus of players leaving early, they should be among the favorites again in year 8. So as much as you don't want to hear "trust the process," it's all you can do.


But that's just the thing...it's not emotion...it's factual. That was the point of this thread. Emotions aside, what are the results so far? Are they what we expected? So far the objective answer to that is not even close. This season has turned into the same feel as last year. A big upset win or two, a handful of games over at halftime, and plenty of 20 pt blowout losses. Under Willard, SHU has never lost more than 13 games. At this point, we would be lucky to win 13. That would mean we somehow get 5 more wins which is very unlikely. Willard won 21 games his 2nd season. This flies in the face of people who say it's impossible to get instant results. I'm sure you will say he did not lose everyone and start from scratch like Mullin did, but the fact of the matter is that Willard's teams at least showed real promise. There's a difference between being a 15-17 win mediocre team and a 8-10 win bottom-feeder. The youth excuse was never valid and if you still think so, did you watch our game vs. PSU who had players just as young and inexperienced? They ran us out of the gym. Youth may be a contributing factor, but it's definitely not the main issue. This mindset again implies that you can only expect teams to be good once every 4 years. That's on pace for 3 berths every 12 years which is very bad. There are tons of coaches out there who consistently win with youth, graduating players, players leaving for the draft or overseas, transfers, JUCO's, 3 star recruits, injuries, etc. No one said it's easy, but many coaches do this. I'm not asking to be a top 10 team, I'm asking to beat teams like Delaware State...some of the absolute worst teams in the country. I'm asking us to play some semblance of a defense. I'm asking us to recruit BIG men and not stick men. It's no longer early in the season, so throw out that excuse too. In a few more weeks, the bracketology will begin to fire up nationally. Yes, Mullin is new to coaching I get it. But that doesn't mean there are zero expectations. The guy is an NBA HOFer, you can't tell me he doesn't know the game of basketball in and out. The problem is that for whatever reason he doesn't teach well if at all. The only things I hear when he is mic'd up are things like "We got this", "Keep banging", etc. That is very concerning. When you listen to him talking to the team and you think to yourself, "hey, I can do that" it doesn't reflect well. The energy level is just very low with the staff except St. Jean. As a head coach it's a basic concept to understand that you should be up at all times running up and down the sidelines, yelling out formations, what players to clue in on, preach fundamentals, etc. Did you see McDermott against us? That's a head coach. I don't see any other coaches sitting down drinking Perrier while we go up in flames. Yes he's a new coach. But he has tons of experience in basketball and it's fair to say that we should still expect better. It really makes you wonder if he even says anything when a guy like Yakwe (hasn't hit a shot all year it seems) is shooting from 12 feet out. They just keep doing it so I have to assume he isn't...or he doesn't care. If it were me, I would take Yakwe out after that and tell him to play within himself...that's not who he is...he's there to rebound, dunk, or lay it up. If he finds himself with the ball 12 feet from the basket, not only would I get in the ear of whoever passed to him, but I would tell the team he's not to get the ball unless he's already in position to lay it up or dunk without dribbling.


I will say, as I believe I have before, I think Mullin was a bad hire. He could very well be a great coach one day, but being a head coach Big East isn't the place to take your first coaching job. It's like a brokerage firm throwing an intern on to the NYSE trading floor on his first day. Mullin would have been much better off taking a job in the MAAC or NEC to get some experience without the weight of the world on his shoulders. Like you said, he obviously knows basketball inside an out, but teaching is a skill that needs to be developed. Drawing up the right play is a skill that needs to be developed. Thinking as a coach is not the same as thinking as a player, and he's trying to learn the job in the most high-pressure situation possible.

But back to Mullin. He's here, whether he should be or not, and in fairness to him I think expectations need to be tempered at first, at least in regard to wins and losses. If the SJU administration wants him to succeed, they need to be patient with him. If they can't do that and want fast results, fire him now and beg Jim Valhoun to come out of retirement.


I agree with your point about patience. Excellent point.

With regard to Mullin's lack of readiness, I disagree. No doubt that there was risk since he'd never actually managed a program before. But it's not the first time this has been done. Sometimes it works and sometimes it fails miserably. But I don't think the failures have to do with the inability to draw up X's and O's. Or knowing the right play for the right situation.

John Calipari never drew up a situational play in his life. It's not what he does. But he's a highly successful coach. Neither has Jim Calhoun, whom I watched up close and personal for years. He's also very successful obviously. These guys are systems coaches and they run their system regardless of the situation.

I think the decision had to do with putting a new face on the franchise. I think they felt that they needed credibility and they needed to reestablish ties to HS and AAU coaches in the city to build a pipeline to the talent base they should own. Bobby Gonzale! Whom you mention, is a great X's and O's coach. I'm sure he could always come up with the right play for the right situation. But that's not what did him in at Seto Hall. Nor is it what did Fran Fraschilla, another great X's and O's guy, in at St John's years ago. Their failures were due to their inability to manage people and to handle the other stresses of the job.

I think that St John's made the calculation that Mullin would be a good leader of young men, who would have the character to represent the university well, who would avoid the pitfalls that brought down Jarvis and Fraschilla. Time will tell if they were right. I don't think there's any question that Mullin knows a ton of basketball. Regardless of whether he's coached before, I don't think that will be his downfall.

One of the things that impressed StJohn's new transfers, Marvin Clark and Justin Simon, was how well the practices were run and how well those practices seemed connected to what the coaches were expecting in game situations. These were guys who were already playing for other college coaches. I think that speaks volumes about what Mullin already has in place. As you said, the process takes time - especially given what Mullin inherited.
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Re: Accountability at St. John's

Postby Bluejay » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:11 pm

I'm not a big fan of Mullin, but he wasn't left anything. I can't pin the troubles entirely on him.

I may be the exception, but I like hooper's enthusiasm. I wish he made better use of paragraphs however. :lol:

Ti me, ST Johns is doing exactly what I expected them to do this year. Okay, some of those noncon losses were inexcusable but the Syracuse blow out was nice. I do believe there is some nice young talent on that team. Like a lot of freshmen though, they need to learn how to play team defense and help defense. They also have to learn to trust their teammates. I don't know if Mullin is the one to get them over the hump, but I don't think St John's is underperforming as compared to expectations.
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Re: Accountability at St. John's

Postby Hall2012 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:42 pm

Bill Marsh wrote:
I agree with your point about patience. Excellent point.

With regard to Mullin's lack of readiness, I disagree. No doubt that there was risk since he'd never actually managed a program before. But it's not the first time this has been done. Sometimes it works and sometimes it fails miserably. But I don't think the failures have to do with the inability to draw up X's and O's. Or knowing the right play for the right situation.

John Calipari never drew up a situational play in his life. It's not what he does. But he's a highly successful coach. Neither has Jim Calhoun, whom I watched up close and personal for years. He's also very successful obviously. These guys are systems coaches and they run their system regardless of the situation.

I think the decision had to do with putting a new face on the franchise. I think they felt that they needed credibility and they needed to reestablish ties to HS and AAU coaches in the city to build a pipeline to the talent base they should own. Bobby Gonzale! Whom you mention, is a great X's and O's coach. I'm sure he could always come up with the right play for the right situation. But that's not what did him in at Seto Hall. Nor is it what did Fran Fraschilla, another great X's and O's guy, in at St John's years ago. Their failures were due to their inability to manage people and to handle the other stresses of the job.

I think that St John's made the calculation that Mullin would be a good leader of young men, who would have the character to represent the university well, who would avoid the pitfalls that brought down Jarvis and Fraschilla. Time will tell if they were right. I don't think there's any question that Mullin knows a ton of basketball. Regardless of whether he's coached before, I don't think that will be his downfall.

One of the things that impressed StJohn's new transfers, Marvin Clark and Justin Simon, was how well the practices were run and how well those practices seemed connected to what the coaches were expecting in game situations. These were guys who were already playing for other college coaches. I think that speaks volumes about what Mullin already has in place. As you said, the process takes time - especially given what Mullin inherited.


I don't disagree with anything that you said and I think that Chris Mullin can be successful. I just think he'd have been better served by starting out in a situation where he faced less pressure from impatient fans and was competing against other coaches that we're around his level rather than in a league that has nearly half its teams ranked in the top 25. He can learn and grow fast at St. John's, provided the administration gives him the time he needs and he's able to ignore the calls for his head by angry, impatient fans. To reiterate, it requires patience.

How many coaches have taken their 1st ever coaching job at a high major? How many of them have been successful? How many found success quickly? I don't know any of these numbers, but I'd guess they're all fairly low.
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Re: Accountability at St. John's

Postby sciencejay » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:46 pm

St John's reminds me a lot of Nebrasketball this year--lost to Gardner-Webb (who?) but then won AT Indiana and AT Maryland (ending game on 14-0 run to win by 2). Sounds like SJ to me. There is talent there, and when things click, the sky's the limit, but with the youth and the new pieces, things don't click most of the time. Thus the great wins (Butler) and the terrible losses (LIU).

Mullin will get you there, but it will take time.
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Re: Accountability at St. John's

Postby BEhomer » Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:10 pm

I will say this about Mullin. Although he's not a good coach he doesn't pretend to be one either. He has St Jean running practice and provide in game coaching and has no problem stepping aside. He brought in Matt A. to recruit for him and doesn't make it a secret that he relies on him. That's what good leaders do. they delegate and empower.

The problem I see is that for the system they're trying to run they don't have enough talent. and for them to play smart team basketball they may not have the right personnel. I think his vision is to become a team like Kentucky. up and down free style offense relying on individual skills and using superb athleticism to play aggressive defense. for that to happen he needs to bring in 1-2 5 star players.
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Re: Accountability at St. John's

Postby hoops22 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:49 pm

Hooper, while I can understand some of your frustrations, I think most of your expectations are completely unrealistic. Let's start with last year. When Lavin left and Mullin was hired, the cupboard was completely bare. Not just in talent, but in even having bodies on the roster. In less than a month Mullin had replenished the roster with what was available, but at that point most quality players had been long gone. When we were blown out by that D2 team in an exhibition last year, reality set in, on what was to come. As bad as they were, I actually liked last years team, because they always played hard and gave it their best, even though they were outmanned nearly every night. That's all you can ask for.

This year, like you, I thought it would be different. Three new highly touted starters (Ponds, LoVett, and Ahmed ) Yawke with a year under his belt, as well as Sima and Owens. But the problem is, we believed all the press clippings and quotes from AAU coaches, and wildly overestimated the talent level on the team. If you look at the top five teams in the BE, how many of our guys would have a meaningful role on any of them?

Let's break it down and look at what we have. Ponds and LoVett are the two most talented players. Both are extremely talented and exciting offensive players, but both are severely lacking defensively. I think not having any upper class leadership has hurt both. For example, Villanova seems to have upperclassmen every year that demand the young guys play with a certain level of dedication and intensity. They won't allow anyone to take possessions off. St. John's doesn't have that kind of leadership, and I think it manifests itself in a game like last night, where they simply quit midway through the second half. But both those guys are important pieces of the process going forward.

Owens might be my favorite player, not because of talent, but because he plays his hardest and seems to care. Let's get 20 pounds on him, get him some big man coaching, and see if we might have something pretty good next year.

Outside of those three, what is there? Ahmed is always out of control. You can't generate ball movement, because once it touches his hands, you're not getting it back. Yawke is obviously an athletic kid, but without any basketball ability. Offensively he has no skill set other than the ability to dunk. Mussini, Freudenberg and Amar are all way too slow and a defensive liability. Mussini can catch and shoot, but good things don't happen when he puts the ball on the floor. Freudenberg has a decent basketball IQ and might be a serviceable BE player in a couple of years, but he's nowhere near that yet. And Amar is Amar, we all love him and his enthusiasm, but a 6'9 guy who can't play D, and parks out at the 3 pt line all game, has limited value. I've become skeptical of Ellison's ability, and question whether he's a legitimate BE player. He might be better suited for a league like the A10. I just don't know how much mileage it's reasonable to expect to get out of this bunch.

I've had my questions about Mullin, particularly with regards to the staff he assembled, with no college coaching experience. And I'm troubled by the lack of progress with our big men, although I'm not sure how much he's had to work with. But let me give you an example of where i think some of us are unfair to him. In the Xavier game, when the lead was disappearing, the team started to resort to the selfish undisciplined basketball we see all too much. So he removed Ahmed, LoVett and someone else, which I agreed with, and subbed in Mussini, Amar and Freudenberg. Well you know what Xavier did to those three defensively, the points started coming for X so fast and furious, even the scoreboard operator had trouble keeping up. It's easy to criticize Mullin, but what good options were there?

As far as next year and what's reasonable to expect, I agree with you that 15 wins and a .500 record is fair. There has to be some progress from this. Next year he will have at least 5 BE quality players. Simon will help defensively because at 6'5 he'll be able to do more defensively with bigger and stronger guards than Ponds or LoVett are able to. Plus his length will help defending the passing lanes. Marvin Clark, while not the prototypical banger, has a nice shot, and will take minues from Ahmed, particularly if Ahmed refuses to play team ball and remains out of control. Owens is a hard enough worker, I expect him to be improved. Hopefully Matt A will bring in a transfer that can contribute, you know they'll aggressively be persuing that.

So Hooper, the bottom line is, it's another year where we'll be outmanned every game from here on in, with the exception of Depaul. There will be few wins. It is what it is. What I want to see going forward, is to see Mullin get these guys to take some pride in defense, and show a hell of a lot more effort than they have so far. I want to see him stop the team from playing undisciplined street ball, once they get down by double digits. But the truth of the matter is, the best teams are the best not because of the coaching, but because of the talent level on the roster. We're at a disadvantage this year, but next year will be a little better, and hopefully the year after better still. It's no fun to be patient, when we've already been patient for so long, but there's nothing else to do. Better days are coming.
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Re: Accountability at St. John's

Postby pc5151 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:57 pm

Unless you are Duke Kentucky you are not going to win with your key players being freshman and sophomores. The rosters of Kansas, UNC, Nova, Baylor, Creighton & Louisville are all filled with upperclassmen who play big roles. And I am not talking about stop gap guys like Ahmed (no offense to him), I am talking about the core of your team. St Johns has talented kids on its roster, they just need a year or two of experience while continuing to add talent around it.

Clark and Simon next year will be starters, pushing guys who get too many minutes this year to backup roles which better fit their talent. This means Ellison, who is much improved this year vs last, and Ahmed become your role players off the bench which is pretty solid depth. Give Mullin time, that program is heading in the right direction. If they keep adding top NY area recruits like Ponds each year the rest of us will be wishing they kept Lavin
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Re: Accountability at St. John's

Postby REDMEN1415 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:02 pm

NJRedman wrote:This young boy has no idea what being a suffering SJU fan actually means. He mentions he had to sit through the Lavin years and now the Mullin regime. Yeah, I go back to Jarvis so keep quiet with your temper tantrum. I've seen the entire team kicked out of school and watch us play with a bunch of walk ons, kids who I played intramural against were playing UConn, GTown and Syracuse at MSG.

You are asking the new AD who is less than a month in his new role to fire Chris Mullin half way through his second year because YOU think he stinks. Thats not accountability thats emotion. If you think this team would be that much better this year than you don't know much about basketball. To me if everything broke just right and we gelled early at best we'd finish in 6th place and get an NIT birth. That was the BEST CASE SCENARIO!

No go take some provac and leave the rest of us alone.



What if Fran wasn't such a lunatic, and he wasn't fired? He recruited Artest Barkley Thornton Postell and those guy.
Would he still be here, with alot of successful season? We'll never know.

Jarvis was a better coach and got those kids to the elite8, but he didn't recruit the HS and AAU kids, and went the Junior coll. route, what a disaster that was.
Then the sex capades in pitt, resulted in a depleted team, with walk-ons. Then came the Keita incident. The Jarvis era was the low point.

Norm short and simple was garbage.

We know what Lavin done with Norms kids, or should I say Dunlap. 2nd year, his recruits 1st, 12 wins with a Dunlap coached team as Lav was resting with cancer. Lavin had a real good 1st year recruiting. The the cancer came, and his father died, then it was like he didn't care anymore.

Well now it's Mullins turn, someone has to turn this ship around to the right direction, no? Hopefully the schools most beloved figure can.
He loves this school. To me if he can't then wtf can? With how I see it, if he can't turn it around, then we'll be another Fordham, NYU, CCNY, a once great BBall school that will never return to its glory days.

So again, what if Fran wasn't such a lunatic? Would he still be here, be successful as Jay Wright?
We'll never know. Oh well.
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Re: Accountability at St. John's

Postby sciencejay » Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:16 pm

SJHooper: You're a psychologist? I'm imagining one of your patients telling you about them doing something stupid--again--and you going off for several paragraphs about how he/she will never amount to anything and that they should off themselves now because it's clear that they'll never amount to anything based on what you've seen from the first two sessions. Yikes. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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