The New York media depicted St. John’s as a team bursting with confidence, ready to put it all together, expose Louisville on its home court and make a legendary stretch run.
Pitino telling his troops he wants them to be just as aggressive on offense as they are on defense. He tells his coaches not to show concern over the dwindling numbers, but keep raising expectations. Players believing they have a chance to win every game despite the odds.
- Confidence has never been an issue with Preston Knowles. Having completely recovered from the wrist injury a season ago, Preston is ready to carry this team on his back if necessary, aches and all. No situation on the court is foreign to him, living and dreaming basketball 24 hours a day, seven days a week his entire life.
- Peyton Siva probably appreciates Knowles as much as any player, getting accustomed to the college pace, growing in confidence, his teammate showing what’s possible when one wins Pitino over, when one is a team guy, when one is thrust into a leadership role. He’s finding his shot, feeding his teammates and making steals as well in the learning process.
- Kyle Kuric leads in other ways, owning the left side of the court, Kuric’s Corner if you will. When his shot is on, the opposition is in trouble. What’s really pleasing with this team’s challenges is his ability to mix it up on the boards, always surprising, never getting old.
- Chris Smith is better during the early part of game, possibly still getting used to the pace. More endurance and he becomes a Greg Minor-clutch type player in the wire-to-wire affairs.
- Gorgui Dieng learning, always learning, grasping things, a masterpiece in progress. If he can avoid breathing on opponents, he might get fewer fouls called on him.Â (PS: Happy Birthday, Gorgui.)
- Stephan Van Treese may shoot like the snowman, Marty Pulliam, once did but that big, sometimes out-of-control body of his is a problem for opponents. Just goes out there and does what he’s told to do. Sometimes that’s enough.