Mike Anderson, who needed a spark, put Rasheem Dunn in the starting lineup. It led to St. John's first league win. The new Red Storm trainer won't mess with a good thing.
Dunn, the Brooklyn-based and Cleveland-based international, will continue to lead the way as the Johnnies hope to build on Saturday's victory over DePaul. Anderson doesn't usually commit to his starters before the day of the game, but Dunn has made such a convincing case.
"Rasheem deserved this opportunity to be on the grid," Anderson said in a phone interview when St. Johns was preparing to visit Providence on Wednesday night. "It gives us another way to score and create."
Dunn ended up with 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals against DePaul. The team's third leading scorer, Dunn, was one of the Johnnies' most consistent offensive players. In 10 of 13 games, it reached a double-digit value and offered another option after LJ Figueroa and Mustapha Heron. Nevertheless, he came from the bank until recently. But with St. Johns' struggle to find points and dig themselves early holes, Anderson made the change.
"He feels more comfortable," said the St. John coach in the first year. "He trusts his teammates and I think they trust him. He has always been a guy who can score basketball. You play with others as well as you do now. You have to improve them."
The 6-foot-2 Dunn is averaging 3.3 assists, but 4.3 in his last three games. The move also seemed to inspire downgraded starter Julian Champagnie, who had 11 points, four rebounds and three assists against DePaul. It was by far his best performance in four Big East competitions.
But now St. Johns (12-5, 1-3 Big East) is back on the street where it is 0-2. While Providence showed a disappointing non-conference performance (7: 6), this game went 3-1 in the league with a lone loss to Butler # 5.
“Providence is a very physical, experienced basketball team. Our job is to give ourselves a chance to win [the game at the end]Said Anderson. “We have to adjust their physicality, especially on the boards. We have to defend, take care of basketball and above all shoot basketball [well], It's something we haven't done on the street yet. "