St. John’s basketball quiet leader behind midseason turnaround

St. John's basketball guard Rasheem Dunn (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
St. John's basketball guard Rasheem Dunn (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /

St. John’s basketball has seen a quiet leader emerge during its midseason turnaround. 

As the St. John’s basketball team has won four straight games and five of its last six, the Red Storm (11-7, 5-6 Big East) have been led by freshman Posh Alexander and sophomore Julian Champagnie.

However, players and coaches give the credit to senior guard Rasheem Dunn for helping and leading its young roster during the midseason turnaround.

“We start making runs and [Rasheem Dunn] is the catalyst in all of that,” head coach Mike Anderson said following the Johnnies’ 75-73 victory over Marquette (8-9, 4-7 Big East) on Sunday afternoon.

“He calms the guys down and I think that guys are even taking to the captainship of our basketball team.”

Dunn finished with 11 points, three rebounds, three assists, and one game-clinching steal in the final seconds of St. John’s victory, “Rasheem [Dunn] made some big free throws and even got to the point where he made the big steal there at the end,” Anderson explained.

With the graduation of Mustapha Heron and transfer of LJ Figueroa, Dunn was the top returning scorer for St. John’s from the 2019-20 season into 2020-21 but the senior has taken a back seat in the scoring department this year.

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After suffering a concussion in the season opening victory over St. Peter’s, Dunn missed five straight games and is the fifth leading scorer on the team.

However, Dunn does more to impact a basketball game than scoring.

“It is great having Rasheem [Dunn] on the floor because he makes smart decisions and he makes plays for others just like me,” freshman Posh Alexander said after the victory over the Golden Eagles.

The 6-foot-2, 195 pound fifth-year senior is averaging 3.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game.

“Having him as a mentor is great because he is a senior and he is basically showing me how things go. I am so grateful to have him as a leader on our team and as a person I can look up too,” Alexander said of his back-court partner.

St. John’s basketball senior guard continues to go unnoticed

Since the Red Storm began its streak of rattling off victories against Butler January 12, Dunn is 22-of-25 from the free throw line and the little things continue to add up from the senior.

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“I have to applaud Rasheem tonight the way he rebounded the ball, talked, and got our defense engaged,” the St. John’s head coach said of Dunn following the team’s victory over Utah Valley on January 23.

As St. John’s prepares to try and take down No. 3 Villanova (11-1, 6-0 Big East) on Wednesday night (9:00pm EST, CBS Sports Network), expect Rasheem Dunn to be at the center piece of a potential major upset, even if he’s not lighting up the stat sheet.

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