Jarvis Is Out As Red Storm Rebuild
As expected, St. John’s head coach Mike Jarvis was given his walking papers last week. University president Rev. Donald Harrington ended the school’s relationship with Jarvis after a dismal 2-4 start to their basketball campaign. With Willie Shaw being thrown off the team after a narcotics arrest and Jarvis’ public complaints about the team’s new facilities, it was only a matter of time before the team fell into complete disarray. St. John’s are now poised to become the whipping boys of the Big East.
Two of St. John’s losses under Jarvis came to nationally respected programs in Duke and Marquette. The problem, however, is that the other two losses came to Hofstra and Fairfield.
As defending NIT Champions, a lot was expected of Jarvis’ men. Now with the most competitive Big East in years, the Red Storm will be lucky to finish with a winning record.
St. John’s current problems start at the very foundation of college basketball: recruiting. In the past, St. John’s attracted some of the best New York area talent. During coach Jarvis’ time, he chose to focus on mediocre talent from outside NY.
With a new coach and new philosophy, hopefully the exodus of talent will be slowed if SJU can work with local high school and AAU coaches. With seven roster spots opening up at the end of the year, SJU are out of luck as the best of this year’s high school class have already made their commitments. The Johnnies must now focus their effort on high school juniors if the program is to be competitive in a few years.
Interim head coach, Kevin Clark, will not be at the reins for a long time. Speculation is running rampant as everyone from Rick Pitino to John Calipari is being mentioned. It is, however, more likely that the SJU Athletic Department will focus its efforts on Matt Doherty or Steve Lavin.
Doherty has a great resume in having coached at UNC and worked under the great Roy Williams at Kansas for many years. As a New York native, Doherty may relish the chance to coach St. John’s. Most Red Storm fan websites seem to think Doherty will be a good fit, but doubts about his past may impact his chances.
Steve Lavin, the former UCLA coach, is now a college basketball analyst on television. While he is not a likely choice, his name is shortlisted on the SJU Christmas list. Jarvis may even join Lavin on television, but with a good winning percentage, he will likely find a job as a coach next season.
As for St. John’s, it will be quite a few seasons before success returns to the Garden.