St. John’s Head Coach Chris Mullin took part in the Big East Conference coaches’ teleconference on Thursday morning, and spoke about the state of his team after a big win over #10 Marquette on Tuesday night.
That capped a 2-1 road trip for the Red Storm, and they are now 5-5 in conference play (17-6 overall), and they start a three-game homestand Saturday at noon at Madison Square Garden against Providence.
On the potential Big East Player of the Year, Shamorie Ponds: “I think it’s pretty unique to have [a mid-season Player of the Year] right now. You have Villanova and Marquette at the top and everybody else bunched together. There will be more games for everyone to create some separation. There’s been a lot of great performances and great players at the midway point. It’s a little premature to have a player picked right now, in my mind anyway. We still have half a season left.”
On how his NBA experience helps manage the ups and downs of a season: “Everyone has their experiences and they apply them accordingly, but I think [NBA experience] is a big factor. Getting rest and recovery is a huge factor at every level. With the phone and Fortnite and all of these different influences, we try to do our best to keep our guys focused. We can put our guys to bed but can’t put them to sleep. You can see it, I see it. There are a lot more distractions nowadays.”
On his coaching staff’s recruiting efforts: “We’ll probably be out recruiting this weekend. As far as who goes to what games, Matt [Abdelmassih] writes up our schedules. I’ve found that over the course of time that [recruiting] has changed a little bit. It’s more quality time than quantity. It’s about being transparent, having the right system, finding the right fit. Transfer numbers are way up. Across the board at every level, it really gets down to the style of play of the player, relationship with coaches and teammates, and how the guy will play. Recruiting is the life of every program and you have to be very realistic about it.”
On the momentum following Tuesday’s win at Marquette: “Each and every game is going to be important in our conference. Right now our focus is on Providence on Saturday at The Garden.”
On staying focused after a successful road trip: “We always have stressed the importance of having long-term goals. We’ve also stressed doing everything we can to accomplish those goals. Even before the road trip, we didn’t stress about the three games on the road. We focused on who was up next. We talk about what we want to accomplish but we always get back to what we have to do on a daily basis to accomplish that. It comes down to individual accountability and responsibility. Each game, [our foucs] is going to change. We have to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents and that’s what we put all of our energy and efforts towards.”