Team preview: St. John's Red Storm

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(Information in this team report is as of Oct. 1.)


Steve Lavin is walking. He's hitting the gym. Doing yoga. After enduring a season of physical strain caused by prostate cancer surgery and its strength-sapping recovery period, the St. John's head coach is feeling good again.

His stamina flags at times, but that's almost returned completely. And because his legendary ability to fill reporters' notebooks and tape recorders is at full capacity, there is every indication he will be at nearly 100 percent when the 2012-13 season begins.

"For four months now I have been in a good routine," he said. "I'm doing brisk walking, cardio on the stationary bike with a recumbent seat so I can watch tape or read, and I do yoga three or four times a week. My stamina is close to normal, and my overall strength and vitality is good."

Lavin's health is important, and so is the condition of his basketball team, which slumped to 13 wins last year as Lavin battled cancer, and the squad's youth made it a late-season target for Big East teams. St. John's was extremely young last year, and though it won't exactly be grizzled this season, the Red Storm is building toward prosperity with a second consecutive solid recruiting class and the construction of a roster with talent at every position.

The Johnnies aren't ready to make an assault on the conference's upper reaches, not with 11 underclassmen on the roster. But Lavin is optimistic -- and for good reason. His crop of eight newcomers includes some players who could make big impacts this year and could by season's end make St. John's quite formidable.

"We're probably a year ahead of schedule in terms of where we are personnel-wise," he said. "We have a full complement of scholarship players, but we have 11 underclassmen, and all of our players have one year or less of Division I experience. It's the youngest team I've coached. It's the youngest team in school history.