By Joseph Staszewski
Rysheed Jordan’s career at St. John’s is over.
The star sophomore guard is leaving the program, to pursue professional basketball opportunities, according to a release the school sent out Friday.
The Philadelphia native averaged 12 points and three assists in 60 career appearances during his two seasons with the Johnnies under head coach Steve Lavin. He isn’t ineligible to play in the NBA until 2016-17 because he did not declare for this year’s draft, but can play in the D-League or overseas this coming season.
“Playing professional basketball has always been a goal of mine,” Jordan said in the release. “I believe I am ready to take the next step in my basketball career and plan to work hard to achieve my dream of playing in the NBA. I am thankful for the opportunities and support St. John’s University has provided to me. This decision was made with my family’s best interests in mind.”
His departure comes after reports that Jordan was expected to be declared academically ineligible for the fall semester, as first reported by the Daily News. The New York Post reported that Jordan could have returned for the second semester had he completed summer courses, but decided to go pro instead.
Jordan was the second-leading scorer on last year’s team that reached the NCAA Tournament and he ranked ninth in the Big East with 14.1 points per game. He also dished out 95 assists. Jordan was a Big East All-Rookie Team selection in 2013-14 and had 38 double-figure scoring performances over his career.
“We support Rysheed and wish him well in his professional endeavors,” said St. John’s coach Chris Mullin. “He has the potential to play at the highest level of our sport.”
Jordan entered St. John’s a potential NBA Lottery pick, but inconsistent play, off-the-court issues and lack of development kept him from truly realizing that status. Lavin did not allow him to speak to the media because he felt Jordan had to focus on his academics. Jordan spoke just once at the team’s NCAA tournament press conference. The NCAA requires all student athletes to be made available.
“I will always be a proud Johnnie and I thank Coach Mullin for his support,” Jordan said. “I look forward to maintaining a relationship with him.”