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St. John’s hoping for national spotlight as college hoops kicks off

Photo courtesy of St. John's University

BY LARRY FLEISHER

Four years ago, Steve Lavin returned to coaching and with a team comprised of mostly recruits from the Norm Roberts’ regime, St. John’s returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002.

Then, he recruited a class that fans hoped signaled a resurrection of the program so that would be permanently in the national spotlight.

It has not quite worked out that way. With the Red Storm winning 13, 17 and 20 games in the last three years, they’ve proven to be enigmatic at best.

Perhaps last season was the biggest example of St. John’s confounding ways as it opened conference play with five straight closes losses, but then finished with 11 wins in the last 14 games and then were blown at home by Robert Morris in the NIT.

This year Lavin gets one more go-around with his first recruiting class — and D’Angelo Harrison symbolizes the inconsistencies of recent seasons.

Two years ago, he was suspended for poor conduct, but last year he became one of the league’s top scorers by averaging 17.5 points and was named the Haggerty award winner.

Notice the phrase “top scorer” was used, but not top player — even though the honor is supposed to be for the metropolitan areas top college player.

While Harrison’s scoring average was good enough to be the fourth-best in the league, he only shot 38 percent of his hoops.

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