Harrison back from suspension

Players are excited to see their ‘captain back’ in uniform for this season


Torch File Photo

D’Angelo Harrison said he’s done ‘everything they asked me to do’ to return from last season’s suspension.

Junior D’Angelo Harrison says he’s a different person after spending time away from the men’s basketball team as a result of a suspension that began toward the end of last season’s conference schedule.

Head coach Steve Lavin chose to suspend the fiery guard saying that at the time, that the de-facto leader would be best served spending time away from the basketball court. Harrison had options to transfer or look to turn pro, according to Lavin, but chose to spend time away from the team with the intent of returning this fall.

“It definitely hurt,” Harrison said the week before departing for the team’s European tour. “I wanted to play for the team and staff, but I told them right then and there that I wanted to stay, and I’m back now just looking forward to having a great season with these guys.”

After finishing the semester focused on his academics – which resulted in being named to the Big East All-Academic team Harrison returned to his native Texas and spent the early portion of summer working out with former NBA guard John Lucas and attending anger management sessions with a counselor.

He then returned to St. John’s in July to take summer classes and begin his preparations for the 2013-14 season. His teammates said the work he put in from March through the summer hadn’t been lost on them.

“He came back a different person,” said sophomore JaKarr Sampson. “He came back a better person and a better basketball player.” However, Harrison’s effect on the team wasn’t – and isn’t – just about being a good teammate. After his suspension with three regular season games remaining, the Red Storm only managed to win one contest which came in the first round of the NIT.

Part of that can be attributed to the lack of Harrison as a veteran who could score the ball and perform in clutch moments, according to Sampson.
“We got our captain back, our leading scorer, it means a lot to us,” Sampson said. “We missed him last year. You saw how our play dropped when he left. We needed somebody to close games.”

With St. John’s coming into the new season with 13 scholarship players and many returners, Harrison may get a chance for more late-game heroics.But for now, he’s happy to be back. “I feel like I’m wanted again,” he said.