St. John’s basketball: RJ Luis not comfortable to return against Utah

The St. John's basketball team (David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports)
The St. John's basketball team (David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports) /

St. John’s basketball injured wing RJ Luis nearly made his season debut on Sunday. 

The St. John’s basketball team will be healthy and whole again soon, and it was nearly this weekend in Charleston.

RJ Luis, a transfer from UMass, has yet to suit up for the Red Storm after suffering a broken hand on October 1 in practice.

The injury did not require surgery and head coach Rick Pitino, at the onset of his injury, was hopeful that the offensively gifted sophomore could return when the team traveled to South Carolina for the Charleston Classic.

The timeline and target date for a return was then pushed back to November 25, when the Johnnies host Holy Cross, but things got much more interesting in Charleston.

After not dressing for St. John’s win on Thursday against North Texas, Luis was dressed and participated in pregame warmups on Friday afternoon against Dayton but was not available for the game.

ALSO READ: Nahiem Alleyne requests meeting with Rick Pitino

Pitino said after the game that a machine determines how much strength Luis has in his hand and that he would need to cross an 80-percent threshold in order to be cleared to play, which he had not done yet.

However, in his press conference on Saturday morning, the Hall of Famer said that the 6-foot-7 forward went through an individual workout session with him and he was going to practice with the team later in the day and the hope was for him to play against Utah on Sunday, if he could learn all of the sets and plays.

Everything came back positive for Luis on Saturday night in terms of a health standpoint, but he didn’t feel comfortable playing in a game with just one practice after missing nearly six weeks, so Pitino did not play him.

The expectation is that RJ Luis will play on Saturday night (7:00p.m. EST, FS2) against Holy Cross with another week of practice under his belt.

ALSO READ: St. John’s still sorting through combinations at power forward

Luis averaged 11.5 points per game as a freshman with the Minutemen.

St. John’s and Rick Pitino have been waiting for the return of Luis as it will give the Hall of Famer much more flexibility with his rotations and minutes distribution.

The Red Storm only play four games over the next three weeks so there will be ample practice time for RJ Luis to get acclimated to the rhythm of the team.

Next. Rick Pitino shreds into defense after Dayton loss. dark