Posh Alexander is a quality finish away from becoming the fourth St. John’s player (and the first point guard) to be named the Big East’s Freshman of the Year. Entering Tuesday night’s game at Butler, the 6-foot Brooklyn native has led the Red Storm to six straight wins and seven victories in eight games. He has performed like a veteran instead of a freshman, adjusting to the Big East far more quickly than anyone could have anticipated.
In the process of becoming a fan favorite, Alexander leads the conference in steals (2.7) and is second on St. John’s in scoring (11.8), behind sophomore Julian Champagnie. He also is averaging 4.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 36 percent from 3-point range.
Alexander’s fast start compares well with those of a few of the best St. John’s point guards. Here’s a look (in alphabetical order):
Erick Barkley (1998-99)
The Queens native was the floor general for the last great St. John’s team, a group that reached the Elite Eight and fell three points shy of the Final Four. Barkley was the youngster on a veteran team and the moment was never too big for him. He led the conference in assists, averaging 4.7, helping the Johnnies finish third in a loaded Big East. He scored 13.5 points per game and was a stellar defender, notching 2.2 steals. He seamlessly fit in with this rugged team.
Omar Cook (2000-01)
A McDonald’s All-American from Christ the King in Queens, Cook put up gaudy numbers — 15.3 points, 8.7 assists, 2.3 steals — though St. John’s struggled in his lone season, finishing at 14-15. Asked to carry the load offensively, Cook shot just 36 percent from the field, and his decision to go pro (he was a second round pick of the Magic and lasted only briefly in the NBA) set the program back.
Mark Jackson (1983-84)
A part-time starter, Jackson didn’t put up big numbers like the other players on this list, but he was productive and part of an NCAA Tournament team. The Bishop Loughlin alum averaged 5.8 points and 3.6 assists, deferring to older, star teammates like Chris Mullin and Bill Wennington. It laid the foundation for a memorable career.
Dick McGuire (1943-44)
He was the lone freshman to win the Haggerty Award, which is given to the area’s top player and voted on by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association. McGuire and St. John’s won the NIT title in 1944. The Bronx native averaged 6.6 points per game for St. John’s, which defeated Bowling Green, Kentucky and DePaul in the NIT.
Shamorie Ponds (2016-17)
Like Cook, Ponds put up big numbers on a sub.-500 team. He led the Johnnies in scoring (17.4) and steals (2.1), and was a quality playmaker, averaging 3.1 assists. The Brooklyn native, out of Thomas Jefferson High School, set a program record for freshmen with 573 points, shooting 37.5 from 3-point land in a team-high 33.6 minutes per game en route to All-Met Rookie of the Year honors.