D.J. Kennedy Traded to Rio Grande Vipers

D-League All Star and St. John’s alumni D.J. Kennedy has been traded to the Rio Grande Vipers of the NBA developmental league.

Kennedy is currently putting together an MVP caliber season in the D-Leauge, averaging 18.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 5.5 assist per game.

After being named an all star with the Eerie BayHawks, Kennedy will now being joining a Vipers team that many consider to be filled with NBA talent. This bodes well for Kennedy, who still hopes for a chance to make it back to the NBA.

During his short tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kennedy scored 12 points while grabbing 7 rebounds in his two games.

Kennedy is best know for his success with the Red Storm. He spent four years with the team, including a junior year that saw him lead the squad in all five major statistical categories.

Joining a veteran team in Rio Grande will be helpful for Kennedy as he continues to pursue his NBA dream.

Orlando Sanchez Cleared by NCAA; Redshirt God’sgift Gives St. John’s Scholarship Flexibility

Junior college transfer Orlando Sanchez has received a waiver from the NCAA and will regain one year of playing eligibility, St. John’s announced Thursday via Twitter.

“It’s big news,” Sanchez said. “I can play next year. I’m so happy. I’m going to call my grandma right now and tell her the great news. I’m going to tell them ‘I’m free. I can play.’”

St. John’s sought out legal council of Robert Orr, who had previously represented highly touted UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad, to help Sanchez in the appeal process.

“I am delighted to receive this good news for Orlando and St. John’s,” Orr said in a statement. “It is the right decision and I’m appreciative of the NCAA staff working with us in order to reconsider the waiver request.”

As of now, Sanchez will be the 13th scholarship player on the roster for the Red Storm for the start of the 2013-14 season, the maximum allowed by the NCAA.

However, this won’t prevent Steve Lavin and staff to continue recruiting players for next season.

St. John’s elected to redshirt God’sgift Achiuwa at the beginning of the season. The young Red Storm team was expected to go through some growing pains this year and redshirting Achiuwa was seen as an insurance plan.

Achiuwa had another year to develop his basketball skills and when the Red Storm were more ready to compete he would be able to step in.

However, if Achiuwa chooses, he could become an immediately eligible transfer player after completing his undergraduate degree this school year.

In order to be immediately eligible, Achiuwa would have to enroll at another university and pursue a major not currently offered by St. John’s for his graduate degree.

This would free up a scholarship for St. John’s, while also allowing Achiuwa to play immediately, ultimately a win-win scenario for both parties.

In addition to the possibility of Achiuwa transferring, a source tells JohnnyJungle.com that transfer Max Hooper could decide to forfeit his scholarship and walk-on as a member of the team.

JaKarr Sampson Named Big East Rookie of the Week for Sixth Time

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

For the sixth time this season, freshman JaKarr Sampson of St. John’s has been named the Big East Rookie of the Week.

Sampson joins Erick Barkley as the only other member of the Red Storm to win the award on six separate occasions. He is four shy of Carmelo Anthony’s conference record of ten.

In the St. John’s win against UConn, Sampson scored 18 points while pulling down 6 rebounds. He eventually fouled out, but not before making his presence felt.

In the Red Storm’s game against Syracuse, Sampson was able to up his efficiency by shooting 71% from the field while dropping a game high 21 points. He also chipped in 2 steals and 6 rebounds.

Sampson will look to get St. John’s back in the win column as the team heads down to Louisville to face the #12 Cardinals.

D.J. Kennedy Named D-League All Star

Former Red Storm star D.J. Kennedy will be taking part in the upcoming NBA All Star festivities in Houston as part of a squad featuring the top 20 D-League players.

Kennedy played four years at St. John’s averaging about 12 points, 2 assist, and 6 rebounds a game. In his junior year, he led the Red Storm in all five major statistical categories.

Fourteen of the D-League players have prior NBA experience, including Kennedy. In two games with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season he averaged  6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assist.

The versatile Kennedy has upped his value even more this year as a member of the Erie BayHawks, putting up 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 per night.

Many St. John’s fans remember the injury Kennedy suffered during the 2011 Big East Tournament, keeping him from playing in the NCAA Big Dance.

D.J. will now get a chance to show his stuff on the big stage once again February 16 at 3 P.M. in Houston.

St. John’s Continue Rivalry With Syracuse Through 2015

St. John’s and Syracuse released a joint announcement to state that the two schools will have a home-and-home series over the course of the next two seasons.

The fist game will be held next season at Madison Square Garden on December 15. The meeting at the Carrier Dome will occur the year after, in a date that has yet to be determined.

The continuation of the series was foreshadowed in July, when ‘Cuse coach Jim Boeheim expressed his interest in maintaining a connection with the Red Storm. St. John’s coach Steve Lavin also commented on the ongoing rivalry.

“St. John’s and Syracuse are two of the storied programs in NCAA history, both with top 10 numbers in overall victories and winning percentage.” Coach Lavin tweeted. “The Johnnies and Cuse rivalry is now more than a century old and deserves to continue.”

Syracuse has won their last seven match-ups with St. John’s while holding a 47-39 edge in the all time series. The two teams will play their 87th game February 10 as the Storm head up to the home of the Orange.