St. John’s basketball: 5 takeaways from trip to Dominican Republic

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St. John's basketball

St. John’s basketball (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Three games have come and gone for the St. John’s basketball program in the Dominican Republic and now it’s time to react to what felt like a mixed bag of results.

The Johnnies posted a 2-1 record, falling to the Dominican Republic Senior National Team on Monday Night, 93-84.

The Senior National Team had the services of Indiana Pacers guard Chris Duarte who proved to be too much for St. John’s to handle on the offensive side of the ball.

However, the Red Storm erased a 14-point deficit en route to a victory in its first game of the trip against the U22 National Team, 89-87, and nearly never trailed in its second game against the GUG All-Stars, winning 93-79.

Head coach Mike Anderson mixed and matched different lineup combinations throughout the trip as St. John’s is hoping to make a trip back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019 and the first time in Anderson’s tenure at the school.

St. John’s brought in a talented recruiting class out of the transfer portal including Illinois point guard Andre Curbelo and DePaul forward David Jones while freshman AJ Storr and Kolby King have also impressed on the court.

However, the biggest stars from the trip were the returning players in point guard Posh Alexander and center Joel Soriano.

Biggest takeaway from St. John’s basketball foreign trip

St. John's basketball

St. John’s basketball center Joel Soriano (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

The Joel Soriano Hype is Real

The buzz surrounding Joel Soriano was loudest emanating from Queens prior to the departure of the team and that buzz is only going to grow louder upon the return of the Red Storm.

Soriano continued to transform his body and emerged as a vocal leader for a St. John’s team which lost its leader, Julian Champagnie, to the NBA in the offseason and he proved it on the court in the three games.

The Fordham transfer, who averaged just 6.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in his first season with the Johnnies, exploded for 23 points and 15 rebounds against the Dominican Republic U22 National Team on Friday afternoon on 6-of-13 shooting from the floor.

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Both were career-highs for him in a Red Storm uniform as the 6-foot-10 center was effortlessly running the floor and finishing at the basket with ease.

Joel Soriano followed up his stellar debut with another strong effort of 14 points and ten rebounds on 6-of-8 shooting against the GUG All-Stars with a team-high +28 rating as he continued his strong showing into the finale of the trip.

Against the Senior National Team, the former Archbishop Stepinac (NY) standout poured in 22 points and 16 rebounds in the St. John’s defeat on 8-of-12 shooting from the field.

Joel Soriano will look to continue his positive development in preparation for a loaded Big East this season with talented front court players on each roster.

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