Rick Pitino leaning towards changing St. John's basketball starting lineup again

The St. John's basketball team could have another new starting lineup in its Big East Conference opener against Xavier.

Dec 16, 2023; New York, New York, USA;  St. John's Red Storm head coach Rick Pitino yells out
Dec 16, 2023; New York, New York, USA; St. John's Red Storm head coach Rick Pitino yells out / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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There could be another new starting lineup announced for the St. John's basketball team when it takes the floor on Wednesday night against Xavier (6-5) in its Big East opener.

Rick Pitino made a change in its usual group of starters prior to the Red Storm's (7-3) victory over Fordham on Saturday -- replacing veteran Jordan Dingle with seldom used reserve Sean Conway.

Pitino cited Conway's effort and performance in practice for the reasoning of his promotion but also said that he is not fully invested in who starts for his team -- like others might be.

When asked if Sean Conway would start his second straight game, the Hall of Famer expressed some caution on Tuesday afternoon saying, "Possibly, but doubtful."

Nahiem Alleyne is the only other player on the roster to start a game outside of Daniss Jenkins, Glenn Taylor Jr., Chris Ledlum, Joel Soriano, Conway, and Dingle and the UConn transfer seems poised to return to the starting lineup for the first time since opening night.

"[Alleyne] had a great practice [Monday]. The reason Sean [Conway] started wasn't because of matchups, it was because he had three great days of practice."

However, Alleyne presents a favorable matchup for St. John's as one of the team's best perimeter defenders against a Xavier team that has a backcourt averaging 42.3 points per game between three players.

Pitino said that he could go back to Dingle in the starting lineup if he strings together a couple of great practices in a row but is looking for more rebounding and assists from the shooting guard position.

"I'm not going to base what someone did at Penn or at Harvard as what they are going to do at St. John’s -- and same thing with the Iona guys," Pitino said after his team defeated Fordham.

"[Conway] had two or three great days of practice, and he earned the right to start in this game.”

Alleyne has not been recording high numbers of rebounds, assists, and steals in practice, according to Pitino, which is why he hasn't started since the first game of the season and why Conway got the nod in the team's last game.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET (FoxSports1) inside Carnesecca Arena.

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