|St. John's Head Coach Chris Mullin.
St. John's is off to a 12-0 start this season, and they face their biggest test on Saturday night when they open Big East Conference play at Seton Hall.
“Our team is ready to go," St. John's Head Coach Chris Mullin said on Thursday. "We’re excited to get started on Saturday.”
Mullin took part in a Big East Conference coaches conference call on Thursday. Here is the rest of what he had to say:
On what the team needs to improve on heading into Big East play: “Defense is always a big focus of ours. We have good scorers for the most part. Overall, we’re pretty good offensively. Our transition defense has been a big focus and with Big East play now, we’ll be locking down on certain individual players. Everyone is excited to start Big East play and the intensity of our guys shows.“
On the conference race and the talent within the Big East: “I think the Big East will be as tough as ever, maybe a little different with a lot of veteran players who left for the NBA or graduated. It’s going to be tough, top-to-bottom. Every night is going to be a very intense, competitive game and you have to bring you’re A-game every night.”
On Seton Hall’s Myles Powell: “He’s a great scorer. He makes contested shots look easy. He’s someone that’s worked on his fitness and conditioning. He’s their leading scorer and can really get it going. He’s a big-time shooter that plays well without the ball. He’s a great player.”
On the impact of his transfers, including Mustapha Heron and LJ Figueroa: “Statistically, [transfer] numbers are up. Historically at St. John’s, we’ve always had guys come to play here after originally leaving town ... This isn’t a new trend at St. John’s and I’m comfortable with that. Matt [Abdelmassih] has done a great job in all areas of recruiting. There’s a maturing level physically with having transfers. In our case, we’ve brought in players who were at great programs playing for some great coaches, so I believe that’s an advantage. Our transfers are a little more locked in, open-minded, and accountable.”
On Sedee Keita’s availability for Saturday’s game: “He hasn’t been practicing with us yet but he’s progressing very well.”
Greg Williams Jr. has done well coming off the bench in recent games. On the impact he will have moving forward: “Game situations will dictate that, whether it’s foul trouble and matchups. I think he’s come along fine. He’s done a really good job and I have confidence in him. Offensively, he has a good feel for the game and makes good decisions. Defensively, he’s been working on and getting better at. I’m confident that he will play a big role for us.”