RECAP: There are days when I can’t even bother faking it, and today is one of those. Not because Saint John’s lost 83-74 to New Jersey Institute – previously oh and 21 against the Big East – at Carnesecca Arena on Sunday afternoon. The losing I can take, I’m well used to it. But sometimes it’s exhausting the way they lose, doing the same dumb things over and over again, not covering guys and missing free throws and whatever. What’s tiring is summoning the patience that losing demands, and especially when the future looks so promising. I mean sure, I’ve been fooled before: there was not a coaching hire since Mahoney that I thought wasn’t a good one and although I wouldn’t throw Mullin in with that conga line of losers I wouldn’t on the other hand presume that he’s the only ship the Utopia Triangle won’t swallow whole, because Jamaica is where coaches come to die. But of course this talk is silly and too premature to even be premature. What is needed is patience. But today I could not summon it and so fast forwarded through the last eight minutes of the loss, because I’ve seen those eight minutes before … So yes where was I: Saint John’s lost 83-74 to NJIT Sunday, blah blah blah blah. Here’s a quiz: Team A shot 34 percent from the floor, 25 percent from three, and 50 percent from the free throw line and Team B shot 52 percent from the floor, 55 percent from three and 75 percent from the line. GUESS WHO WON? Exactly. Relative to those numbers the ebb and flow of the game is meaningless and I can’t be bothered to describe it … As ridiculous as was Team A’s offense, its defense was worse: to the extent Saint John’s cover anyone they do not do it well, and especially the guards, who two barely D-1 guys called Lynn and Chris lit up for 51. Let us lay the blame where the blame should be laid, in the backcourt. These guys stink … And meanwhile Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond sit on the bench watching this disaster unfold, which is like Sir Isaac Newton and Copernicus watching their second grade math class fail an addition test. If my patience is being tested imagine how they feel … This was a tough beat considering what’s coming. They better beat someone by New Year’s, because after that it’s not going to be pretty for a while.
PLAYERS: It’s fashionable among the Red & White crowd to blame Durand Johnson (10 points 4 rebounds) for Saint John’s troubles: their chief claim is that Johnson is lazy. That’s because the Red & White crowd are racist, but not so unaware of it that they still call lazy black guys shiftless. Meanwhile Federico Mussini hasn’t covered anyone at the three point line since Garibaldi was a force in Italian politics and he’s their savior. Whatever. Federico was 5 for 14 from three Sunday, which makes him 9 for 39 this December absent the Syracuse game. Imagine what Heath Orvis might have done had he been afforded 10 threes a game, or Steve Shurina. Oh well, I reminisced enough about GWH Bobby Kelly last time. Time to move on … Mvouika (12 points 4 assists) is another guy who doesn’t cover anybody. It’s a shame he’s Saint John’s best offensive player, otherwise they could sit him … It was in my notes last time that Chris Jones is aggressive going to the basket but “timid finishing,” which is true of all the Saint John’s bigs. They work very hard to establish position but when it comes time to seal the deal go flaccid. Jones had the softest double double in the history of Division I; Sima had 14 rebounds, most of those of his own misses; Yawke was fine but he should still be in high school … Prediction: Albiveckowack is a clown car now but by the time he graduates he’s going to be the best white player at Saint John’s since, I don’t know, Bob Werdan. Which BWP starting five in my lifetime comprises Mullin, Werdan, Wennington, Ron Rowan and I guess maybe the ill-used Tim Doyle, whose basketball IQ was so high he transferred rather than play for Mike Jarvis. The other guy I might go for is Phil Missere, anyone but floor slapping dope Matt Brust, the most overrated player in SJ history. And yes old guys don’t bother emailing about Billy Schaeffer and the Mcintyre brothers and whoever, they were before my time … I’d like to see the plus minus for Malik Ellison, who played nearly 30 minutes, because the game quickly went south when he came in in the first half. He’s the sort of four year player I wish had played when Lou was coaching because he’d never have seen the floor as a freshman because he’s not very good
NOTES: I got nothing. Steve Lavin showed up at halftime commenting on the game, which is like Mrs. O’Leary showing up and commenting on the Chicago fire, but you have to live with his shamelessness. Looks like he’s gone back to coloring his hair although it might be that he has so much mousse on there that you can’t see the gray. Between his coif and Donny Marshall’s sculpted eyebrows it must have been a long morning in the make-up room.