St. John’s basketball: Players that must step up in absence of LJ Figueroa

St. John's basketball guard Greg Williams Jr. and head coach Mike Anderson
St. John's basketball guard Greg Williams Jr. and head coach Mike Anderson /
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St. John's basketball
St. John’s basketball forwards LJ Figueroa and Julian Champagnie. /

The departure of St. John’s basketball forward LJ Figueroa is now official and the Red Storm need to seen a boost in production from several players.

The overwhelming expectation that LJ Figueroa was leaving the St. John’s Red Storm became official on Saturday.

Figueroa announced that he would be transferring to Oregon after he originally entered the 2020 NBA Draft with the Red Storm while maintaining his colligate eligibility.

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The 6-foot-6 wing still has not officially withdrawn from the NBA Draft, although the expectation is that he will any apply for an NCAA waiver to be immediately eligible in Eugene for the 2020-21 season.

LJ Figueroa averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.9 steals per game in his first year under Mike Anderson while shooting 37.9 percent from the floor and 36.5 percent from 3-point range.

The Lawrence, Massachusetts native spent two seasons in Queens after spending his freshman season at Odessa College (Tex.).

Figueroa’s efficiency and impact was much more grateful in his first season as he was able to shine in a role player role behind players like Shamorie Ponds, Justin Simon, Marvin Clark II, and Mustapha Heron, but struggled when he and Heron had to be the stars in his second season.

However, even with the Preseason All-Big East selection on the roster last season, many of the young and rising players the Johnnies have were able to get valuable experience and now will have to rise to the occasion to fill the shoes of LJ Figueroa.

ALSO READ: St. John’s transfer LJ Figueroa commits to Oregon

Mike Anderson will be losing seniors Nick Rutherford and Mustapha Heron while Figueroa joins Ian Steere and Damien Sears as players to be transferring from the program this offseason.

St. John’s has a five-man recruiting class entering Queens headlined by Our Savior Lutheran stars Posh Alexander and Dylan Wusu, junior college All-American Vince Cole and Isaih Moore, and George Washington graduate transfer Arnoldo Toro.