When it was announced that Mike Cragg, who was last with the Duke Blue Devils, would become the new athletic director for the St. John’s Red Storm, people speculated it meant a new era of Johnnies basketball was in the works.
Following an introductory press conference, it appears as though all of that conjecture was pretty accurate, as Cragg raised the level of expectations to a degree the Red Storm have not realistically been near since some sweater wearing figure was trotting about the sidelines.
“I think it’s a place in college basketball you can win and win big,” Cragg said Tuesday afternoon, by way of the New York Post. “You’re on the biggest stage in the world, in Madison Square Garden and New York City. For me, that’s a unique proposition in recruiting the top players in the country.”
This isn’t bad news for head coach Chris Mullin, either. While some might argue he’s underachieved — at least relative to Cragg’s expectations on the program — the new AD appears to have the coach’s back.
“I love what I see from Coach Mullin and his team. I think we are in a prime position to win this year,” Cragg said. “He obviously knows Big East basketball better than most, being a player in the league and a coach in the league. There’s a learning curve with that, too. Let’s be real. … There was no real background to suggest he would be a great college basketball coach. He wanted to do it from his heart. I love that. So it’s my job to help [him] follow his heart. We’re going to link up and get it done.”
This is a huge year for the St. John’s Red Storm, obviously. Cragg has high expectations and the Johnnies do have an NCAA Tournament-level roster. CBB Today has written on the Red Storm’s weak non-conference schedule, but still views the Johnnies favorably in our Big East Conference preview.
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