Last season, all eyes were focused on St. John’s University freshmen D’Angelo Harrison and Mo Harkless. The latter decided that he was ready for the pro-game and entered into the National Basketball Association draft. Thus Harkless departed the college scene and left behind him three years of college eligibility. Some basketball experts felt that he should have at least stayed in college for his sophomore season.
Harrison returned for his second year along with Phil Greene, God’sgift Achiuwa, and Sir’Dominic Pointer. Add to this list a number of other lettermen and newcomers. Now they must all gel into one unit.
After eight games, they have a 6-2 successful start and are preparing for a clash against Fordham University Saturday night at Madison Square Garden for a 7:00 p.m. tip off.
Harrison, a pre-season all-Big East Conference second team player, is off to a tremendous start. After scoring 27 points against Murray State, a non-league opponent, in their third game of the season, Harrison tallied two 20-point contests and 26 on eight for 13 from the field, and three for six from three-point range and grabbed six rebounds against the University of South Carolina.
Harrison is definitely a bright spot for the Red Storm.
“He’s making some progress,” said Steve Lavin, who is in his third year as head coach of the Johnnies. “(Overall) we have some nice pieces, depth, and speed. We can become a better rebounding team than we are.
“Our strengths are depth, speed and quickness, (and individual it is Harrison). He’s as highly skilled as anyone in the conference. His skill and talent are tied together. And his floor game and judgment are excellent. He is a prolific scorer.”
After eight games, the 6’3” Harrison, who is averaging around 20 points a game, is among the team leaders in free throw percentage, three-point field goals percentage, and point and defensively in steals. He is also among the league leaders for various offensive categories in the league.
“He is making good choices in terms in his run game, where he is taking it all the way, the mid-range game,as well as the deep or three point game,” continued the coach.
“He focuses on the task on hand, and is not being disturbed by the officials or a by an opponent making a hard foul on him or something that doesn’t go his way. There is a great breakthrough in terms of his maturity. And we’re pleased with that.”
Before Harrison entered St. John’s University, Frank Martin, head coach of South Carolina, tried to recruit Harrison.
“I knew that he has the ability (to go far),” Martin added after the setback at the expense of the Red Storm. “He’s a hard level player and has to keep playing,”
“We’re on a hot streak,” Harrison added “We play good and hard defense.”