When St. John's coach Steve Lavin suspended leading scorer D'Angelo Harrison for the rest of the season on March 1, it seemed very possible the 6-foot-3 combo guard had played his final game for the Red Storm.
Four months later, however, it appears that may not be the case.
Harrison is scheduled to travel with the team on its exhibition tour of Italy and France in mid-August, the school confirmed to Rumble in the Garden on Monday afternoon. That jives with comments made by Lavin earlier this offseason that Harrison was meeting his expectations on and off the floor since his suspension and was on track to return to the team for the 2013-14 season.
If Harrison can avoid the attitude problems that also led to him sitting out an exhibition game last season and not starting a pair of other games, it would be a coup for a St. John's program with NCAA tournament aspirations.
Harrison averaged 17.8 points per game last season, but he was the epitome of a volume shooter, sinking only 39.4 percent of his field goal attempts and 31.5 percent of his threes. Nonetheless, the Johnnies struggled without his offensive spark, dropping five of the six games he missed after being suspended following a 1 of 12 shooting night in a 63-47 loss to Pittsburgh.
Assuming Harrison's shot selection and attitude improves, St. John's has enough talent around him to make the NCAA tournament and perhaps even do some damage.
High-scoring forward Jakarr Sampson is back after passing on the NBA draft, as is shot-blocking specialist Chris Obekpa and starting guards Phil Greene and Sir'Dominic Pointer. The Johnnies also regain redshirt senior big man God'sgift Achiuwa and add highly touted freshman Rysheed Jordan, sweet-shooting transfer Max Hooper and Dominican-born forward Orlando Sanchez.
One concern is St. John's shot only 27.1 percent from behind the arc as a team a year ago, and didn't have a single player sink more than a third of his threes. The other is whether Harrison can fit into the team concept, but at least for now preliminary signs appear to be encouraging.