Wednesday, October 20, 2021

St. John's Slated To Be One of Big East's Best

The fan section at Carnesecca Arena. Photo by Jason Schott.

The St. John's Red Storm men's basketball team were predicted to finish fourth in the coaches' poll of the Big East Conference ahead of media day on Tuesday. 

Perennial favorite Villanova was the favorite to win the Big East for the seventh time in eight years, followed by Connecticut in second and Xavier in third.

St. John's garnered 73 votes, just three shy of Xavier (76), and solidly ahead of Seton Hall, in fifth with 68 votes. The rest of the poll of the 11-team Big East Conference went as follows: Butler (60), Providence (45), Creighton (38), Marquette (26), Georgetown (25), and DePaul (10).

St. John's also received votes in the Associated Press Top 25 poll on Monday.

Two of St. John's dynamic guards were also honored in preseason surveys, as Julian Champagnie was named to the Preseason All-Big East First Team, and Posh Alexander made the Preseason All-Big East Second Team.

Champagnie made a name for himself as a sophomore last season, as the guard led the Big East in scoring with 19.8 points per game. He was just the fourth player in St. John's history to lead the conference, joining Chris Mullin (1983-84), Walter Berry (1985-86), and Marcus Hatten (2001-02).

The Staten Island native who attended Bishop Loughlin in Brooklyn before heading to St. John's in Queens, shared the Big East Most Improved Player Award with Xavier's Zach Freemantle, and was named to the All-Big East First Team. He ranked first in the Big East in free throw percentage (88.7 percent), fifth in three-pointers made (2.4), seventh in rebounding (7.4), fourth in steals (1.4) and ninth in blocks (1.0). 

Alexander racked up the honors in his first year with the Johnnies, as he was named the Big East Freshman of the Year and Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors. He is just the fourth player to win Defensive of the Year as a freshman, joining Patrick Ewing, Alonso Mourning, and Allen Iverson, all of whom are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, in the exclusive club.

The Brooklyn native averaged 10.9 points, 4.3 assists, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.6 steals per game. He scored in double figures 13 times with a pair of 20-point performances. He led the conference in steals, and ranked sixth nationally, and most for a freshman. Alaxander's 4.3 assists-per-game led Big East freshmen and was sixth overall.

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