On March 31st, 2015, NBA Hall of Famer Chris Mullin received a phone call.
The caller ID resembled a number that was very familiar to the Brooklyn, NY native. The voice on the other end of the line was St. John’s Director of Athletics Chris Monasch. After a lengthy conversation, Mullin decided to become the 20th head men’s basketball coach in program history.
Mullin is no stranger to the St. John’s Red Storm basketball program. In fact, he arguably is the program’s greatest and most viable player.
As the leader of the 1984 St. John’s basketball team, Mullin led the Red Storm to its second Final Four appearance and won the John R. Wooden award for the nation’s top player. In his four years at St. John’s, Mullin won the BIG EAST Player of the year three times and is the all-time scoring leader at 2,440 career points. He will bring instant accountability to a program that is in need of leadership and direction after a first round exit in the NCAA tournament.
Mullin inherits a team that will be replacing six seniors including star players Sir’Dominic Pointer and D’Angelo Harrison. Pointer and Harrison combined to score nearly half of the entire Red Storm’s offensive production. Mullin will need to replace these stars and improve the team’s defensive intensity. Many times throughout the season, St. John’s struggled to keep opponents from shooting a high percentage. Opponents scored 67.9 points per game and shot 40.7 percent from the field last season.
Lastly, Mullin must mold the team in his image. As a sharpshooter and strong defender, look for the Red Storm to play fast and have bundles of energy. The success could help bring the team back to the NCAA tournament.
Even with a relative young team, Mullin has a chance to leave his championship imprint on the roster. It won’t be easy but will be exciting all along the way. It is something he spoke about in his press conference.
“Obviously, it’s a surreal experience coming home and returning to St. John’s University. This is a role I have been preparing for all of my life,” said Mullin. “There are so many people who have had a great influence on me to reach this point, especially my parents, Coach Carnesecca and my former teammates. I am extremely grateful to Dr. Gempesaw for providing me this tremendous opportunity to give back to the university where I spent some of the greatest years of my life.”