St. John’s laying groundwork despite ouster

Moe Harkless.

On a day when Moe Harkless was named the conference’s rookie of the year, St. John’s was the only team in the opening round to start five freshmen.

St. John’s and their five freshmen lost  yesterday in the opening round of the Big East Tournament, 73-59, to Pittsburgh, but this game — and the whole Red Storm season — was never about the here and now.

“The seeds are there and the wisdom that was gained this year and where we’re headed, certainly we have steel barriers in terms of the players that we have now,” interim coach Mike Dunlap said. “Now we need to add to them and advance forward. There was never a point  in the entire journey that we got down.”

Nearly every impact player on the roster was a freshman. Six of St. John’s top seven scorers, all of whom averaged double-digit minutes, will return.

Dunlap praised the six players in the rotation, all of whom will return next year for “how mentally tough they’ve grown over the course of the journey.”

“The way we played, the esprit de corps was high … and it’s kind of been that way all year with our guys,” Dunlap said. “They’ve been a joy to coach all year.”

Follow Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for live updates from the Big East tournament all week long.



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