It feels like St. John’s basketball has only just ended. Already, though, changes are being made to the roster that will affect the team next season and moving forward.
Junior guard Avery Patterson and sophomore guard Ricky Torres announced their intention to transfer from the school after the spring semester.
So how much will it hurt the team? Will it even hurt at all?Torres’ transfer was not a big surprise to fans of the team. Recruited as a local kid with a renowned jump shot, Torres never got much playing time. In his first season, he played in 23 games but did not get the starting nod in any. He averaged 9.3 minutes per game.
This past season, he played in 27 games but again did not start. His average minutes shrunk to 7.1 minutes per game. At times, he did show off that nice jumper he was recruited for. He had especially notable games against Maryland (11 points) and Texas (nine points.)
“I am grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to play at St. John’s for two seasons,” Torres said in a press release. “I wish my teammates ‘good luck’ moving forward as I head into a new situation, hopefully where I play a bigger role.”
As evidenced by his decreasing minutes, Torres was probably never going to play a major role as a Johnnie. His departure opens up an athletic scholarship over the next two years that can possibly be used on a player that will make more of an impact.
Avery Patterson is a different case. He did play a major role on the team this year. He started the year off hot, winning the regional MVP award of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic. He set the school’s three-point goals in a season record, surpassing Willie Shaw’s 71 with his own 72.
He played in all 31 games last season and started in 27 of them.
“I enjoyed my time at St. John’s, it just didn’t work out the way that we all would have liked,” said Patterson. “I enjoyed playing with my team, and I wish them luck in the future.”
Coach Norm Roberts was a bit more revealing in his comments, telling the New York Daily News that there was a “difference in philosophies” between himself and Patterson.
Neither Patterson nor Torres are known for their defensive prowess – an aspect of the game that Roberts is known to emphasize. That is, of course, not definitely the reason for either of the transfers, but it does give Roberts a better opportunity to mold the team in the way he wants.
Patterson certainly could have helped next season. Even if he did not start, he would be a major weapon off the bench.But now that they are gone, can the Red Storm replace them and continue with their progression as a team? With only Eugene Lawrence returning as an impact senior, the Red Storm will have to rely on the “new guys” more than ever.
Freshman Larry Wright will have to step up for the whole season and help take over the missing spot Patterson will leave. Anthony Mason, Jr. will have to begin to take over the role as an on-court leader. Another impressive, promising recruiting class will immediately be asked to contribute to the team.
And don’t forget about Rob Thomas, a 6-foot-6 forward that was recruited last year but was ineligible for academic reasons. Next year, the big man will be playing and could be a positive force for the Storm.
The transfers might seem unnerving at first. There could wind up being more positives than negatives, though. With scholarships and opportunities opened up for other players, St. John’s has a chance to turn these losses into big gains.