The St. John’s Red Storm had their chances on Thursday afternoon in their second game of the Big East Tournament. They even led by as much as 14 over the top-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles at one point, but St. John’s run in the tournament came to a disappointing end once again and leaves the program with more questions than answers.
The expectations had been high for the Johnnies this year, Mike Anderson’s fourth as head coach of the program, after the addition of two highly touted additions via the transfer portal in Andre Curbelo and David Jones. Instead, they went 14-11 during the regular season and a paltry 4-10 in Big East play.
They dismantled Butler on the opening day of the Big East Tournament, but they failed to close out the game and even after they forced overtime on Thursday their shooting disappeared when they needed it most.
“Really just reflect I mean on us really,” Joel Soriano said about the Johnnies coming up short. “We were the ones that were on the court. We’re the ones that make plays and so at the end of day, it really falls on us. I feel like this year was the highs and lows. I mean we started off the year 11-0 and we went through some ups and downs. Some adversity, so we just got to be better man. Look at the film. Look back at what we could do better.”
Postseason success has been hard to come by for the Johnnies. They haven’t won a Big East Tournament since 2000, which was also the last time the Red Storm had won a game in the NCAA Tournament, and they have gone dancing in March Madness in four years.
The season may not be entirely over for the Red Storm now that their time in the Big East Tournament has come to an end. St. John’s could get an NIT bid to keep their season going a little bit longer.
However, now the focus turns to Anderson and the job he’s done during his tenure. Anderson pointed to a number of issues that kept the team from coming together the way he had hoped it would at the beginning of the year, but he felt that he had started to see glimpses of it recently.
“We saw that team today. We’ve been seeing that team here lately as a matter of fact,” Anderson said.
The St. John’s coach said he looked forward to being there next season, but wouldn’t address a reporter’s question if he had spoken to the administration about his future. At the very least, Anderson enjoyed the backing of the guys in the locker room.
Soriano, who has another year of eligibility left and hadn’t decided what his future held, suggested his return to the Red Storm was tied to Anderson.
“He’s a great coach. Love him to death,” Soriano said. “That’s my coach, I’d go to war for him. I’d die for him any day of the week. If there’s any chance of me coming back next year and he’s not here, I’m not coming back here. He’s my coach.”