It is safe to say that things did not go fully to plan for St. John’s last season. Chris Mullin’s first season at the helm was a reset for the program as they looked to start fresh, but one where the Red Storm had to weather the storm themselves.
Still, despite a rough start in the Mullin era there were some bright marks and areas that can be built on in the second year. Among them is play of St. John’s 6’1” guard from Reggio Emilia, Italy. One Federico Mussini.
Mussini was an interesting figure last season. He is a player who Mullin has raved about over the course of the season, and one whom he has designs on his development to reach his potential and become a star for St. John’s that Mullin believe he can become.
He did have flashes of brilliance during the 2015-16 campaign, in particular in the early goings against nonconference opponents. His 17 point game against Syracuse and his 20 point game against NJIT particularly standout for Mussini in the early months of the season. In conference play, as well, there were some bright spot for Mussini, with his two 19 point games against Xavier and Marquette being fairly decent showings.
Through it all though, while his flashes were great examples of a player of some composure, it was in his errors and at times inability to fully address the teams needs at point guard that displayed what Mussini needs to work on going forward.
To start, he had what could be considered the toughest task in the St. John’s roster to address heading into the season. Taking on a point guard position that he was relatively suited for, but one that was a rather awkward fit to begin with. He was, in most ways, the closest thing that the Johnnies had to a ball handler and ergo would be tasked with bringing the ball up. A challenge which early on in nonconference play he showed some composure in, but come Big East play was open season on against taller and more experienced opponents. His game on the road against Marquette when he had four turnovers stands out, as does the number of times when he appeared to be more of a human subway turnstile then basketball player over the span of conference play.
While Mullin did rave about his play, admittedly he also mentioned during the course of the season that he was playing Mussini too many minutes. While there are some positives to that for a young player to get as much game time as he can gaining experience in the process, there are also drawbacks as well.
This might be negative in review, but there are positives going forward. The good news for Mussini heading into this season, is that Marcus LoVett is expected to play this season, meaning that Mussini will most likely be slotted over from point guard to shooting guard. That’s a position he is more suited for and that fits his skill set.