St. John’s roster has a problem up front.
“We did a good job of putting this team together … but our frontcourt depth is terrible,” the Johnnies’ coach said after his team’s dismal 89-73 loss to Michigan at the Garden on Monday night. “You need to have five or six frontcourt guys, and we have too much depth in the backcourt and not enough depth in the frontcourt.”
It’s no surprise that in St. John’s four games counting the two exhibitions, it has looked good in the contests that forward Chris Ledlum has performed well and been shaky when he has not.
Against Stony Brook, the Harvard transfer was all over the floor making winning plays.
He didn’t have it against Michigan’s big front line, limited to four points on 1-for-7 shooting with four turnovers.
Ledlum played a team-high 26 minutes.
Kansas transfer Zuby Ejiofor is raw, and returning forward Drissa Traore is more of a depth piece unlikely to see extended minutes.
That leads to an overdependence on Ledlum for the time being.
“Going forward, we need more frontcourt depth,” Pitino said. “Chris played a lot of minutes. We don’t really have somebody to take his place. That’s the weakest position we have.”
St. John’s was outscored in the paint, 36-28, but it did outrebound the Wolverines, 47-39, and had a whopping 33 second-chance points.
RJ Luis has begun doing basketball activities after missing six weeks with a fractured left hand. The expectation is the UMass transfer will return for the Nov. 25 game against Holy Cross.
“I think he can definitely help us,” Pitino said.
St. John’s hosted five-star guard VJ Edgecombe of Long Island Lutheran, the entire Archbishop Stepinac basketball team, four-star signee Jaiden Glover and sophomore point guard Jermel “Magic Mel” Thomas of Cardinal Hayes. … Celebrities Fat Joe, Jadakiss, ESPN boss Jimmy Pitaro and former Mets closer and St. John’s alum John Franco were in attendance. … Phil Martelli served as the acting head coach for Michigan as Juwan Howard works his way back to the sideline after undergoing heart surgery in September. Howard was in the building Monday.