St. John’s basketball: Rick Pitino sets expectations for upcoming season

St. John's basketball head coach Rick Pitino (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball head coach Rick Pitino (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

St. John’s basketball head coach Rick Pitino set his expectations for the season. 

Rick Pitino was very hesitant to set expectations for the St. John’s basketball team entering his first season as the program’s head coach.

Last Tuesday at the school’s media day he said he would have a better understanding of what his team could be capable of following its exhibition matchup against Rutgers, and despite missing three players in that game — RJ Luis, Jordan Dingle, and Cruz Davis — the Johnnies managed to win a thrilling double overtime matchup.

Now, Pitino is giving some clues as to what he expects from the Red Storm.

“I think what we all define [success] is as coaches is you have to make the [NCAA] Tournament,” Pitino said on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Thursday night.

ALSO READ: Rick Pitino praises Mike Anderson on SportsCenter

St. John’s was picked to finish 5th in the Big East Preseason Coaches Poll and received votes in the Associated Press Preseason Top-25 Poll.

The Johnnies only return two players from a season ago, senior center Joel Soriano and sophomore forward Drissa Traore, while brining in ten players from the transfer portal and two high profile freshmen recruits.

St. John’s basketball has been waiting for March success

St. John’s has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2019, which was a berth in the First Four under head coach Chris Mullin, and the last time the Red Storm made the Round of 64 was in 2015 under Steve Lavin.

The Johnnies have not won an NCAA Tournament game since 2000, under head coach Mike Jarvis, which was also the last season the program made the semifinals of the Big East Tournament.

ALSO READ: Rick Pitino provides injury updates on trio of players

The program never reached the postseason during the tenure of Mike Anderson and the last time St. John’s participated in the NIT was 2014.

Rick Pitino brings a new sense of hope and passion to Queens that has not been seen since the iconic days of Lou Carnesecca on the Red Storm bench and the season will begin on Tuesday, November 7 against Stony Brook (7:00p.m. ET, FS1).

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