The Calm after the ‘Storm

Well, last week certainly was interesting for the Red Storm, now wasnít it?

A player√≠s grandmother died; the Coach’s daughter gave birth to his grandson; the team made the NCAA tournament; an important player was suspended for the tournament.

They made more news off the court than they did on it, where the Wisconsin Badgers outclassed the Johnnies, 80-70.

But that has been the case this season; they make news off the court.

This season, the Red Storm went 20-11, won one game in the Big East Tournament and were a nine seed in the Big Dance. Basically, they over-achieved.

Coming into this season, the Johnnies had two returning players that they felt they could count on: Anthony Glover and Willie Shaw. Both Glover and Shaw had been through the Big East battles and had enjoyed some success.

But Glover and Shaw were as consistent as the stock market. One game bull, one game bear. And that was shocking.

Both guys have an excuse. Glover was going up against other teamsí big boysí nightlyógiving up four, five, six inches routinely. He had trouble getting his shot off, and couldnít create a Play-dough ash tray, much less his own shot.

Obviously, Glover has some work to do in the off-season. He has to work on his mid-range to long range game and his athleticism. His game, aptly described by the New York Post√≠s Lenn Robbins as “Bull-in-the-China-Shop,” has become a hindrace. For him and the team.

Shaw had a tough season. All season long, he played with tendinitis in his knees, which made it tough to walk, much less play basketball. And it showed. Unlike last season, where Shaw was a shooting threat, this season, Shaw was a threat to spectatorsí safety when he shot.

He lost his starting spot-first to the immature Alpha Banguraówho has his own problemsóthen to walk-on Andre Stanley.

Shaw suffered silently. Then something started to happen. The tendinitis began to bother him less and less. His shooting became better. He was able to run the floor. He was back. And just in time for the NCAA tournament.

Then it happened.

According to reports, Shaw and Jarvis had an argument at a practice before the Johnnies left for the Washington D.C. The reports stated that Shaw asked for his starting position and Jarvis stated that Stanley would be the starter. The discussion degenerated into a confrontation so heated that other players and coaches had to intervene.

That may work for NBA players, but it doesnít work in college. The day the Red Storm left for D.C., Shaw, was told by Jarvis that he wasnít going. He was at Alumni Hall, in traveling clothes and completely caught off guard.

Shaw was hurt as anyone would be, and then, amazingly, it got worse for him.

A report surfaced that said Shaw was suspended for a “minor substance-abuse violation.” The report went on to state that the alleged substance wasn√≠t alcohol.

Reading between the lines, the report was saying Willie Shaw was doing drugs. Of course, one would expect Jarvis to jump to his playerís defense. No argument-no matter how big or small-was going to prevent Jarvis from disputing this rumor, this innuendo.

Jarvis didnít dispute the rumor.

Let me repeat: Jarvis didn’t dispute the rumor.

Jarvis let a damning rumor linger√≥hurting one of his players, “his kids,” as he√≠s apt to call them.

Family members, teammates and friends reported that Shaw had cried when he was left behind and Jarvisí refusal to kill a rumoró one which turned out to be falseókept the sophomore swingman in tears. 

It also led to Shaw considering leaving St. Johnís. According to one report, a family member said Shaw was as good as gone.

After the loss to the Wisconsin, Jarvis and Shaw met and apparently worked things out, as Shaw is coming back to St. Johnís.

But Shaw wasnít going anywhere. If he transferred now, heíd have to sit out a year, leaving him only his senior year to impress professional scouts.

But the incident with Shaw may have permanently ruined the coachís relationship with his player. The next time something happens which could be damaging to Shaw, how does he know if the coach will support him?

But as inconsistent as Shaw and Glover were, there was a pleasant surprise.

The Johnnies knew that JUCO transfer Marcus Hatten would give them scoring. What they learned was that he was going to be theyíre best player.

Offense, defense, shooting, passing, running the floor. Hatten was a One-Man-Gang. Because of him, St. John√≠s won games that it had no right to. He was fun to watch…he was the Big East MVP√≥even if he wasn√≠t voted as such.

This was his team, and he lead by actionsóthe truest quality of a leader. He was The Man.

But a heartbreaking loss made him hurt. A loss that cannot ever be equated by a measly win on a basketball court. 

On Selection Sunday, Hatten was back in his native Baltimore to mourn the loss of his grandmother, the woman who raised him.

On Friday, he was trying to keep the Johnnies alive.

Kind of ironic, isn’t it?

Kind of sad, isn’t it?

For Glover, Shaw and Hatten it was kind of.