By Tom Ballato
D’Angelo Harrison in 2011 committed to St. John’s to play for coach Steve Lavin. Harrison was part of a great recruiting class that included Sir’Dominic Pointer, Phil Greene IV, Maurice Harkless, and Amir Garrett. His recruiting class and coach Steve Lavin brought the hype back to Queens. There were additions by subtractions along the way as Harkless bolted for the NBA after one season where he was a lottery pick and Amir Garrett played two seasons before starting his baseball career, while Jamal Branch transferred to St. John’s from Texas A&M. Coach Lavin brought in this class to get St. John’s back into the NCAA tournament. Each year, Harrison’s game improved, but the one thing missing was a trip to the NCAA tournament. In 2015, St.John’s received an at large bid to the NCAA tournament which was Harrison’s senior year. They ended up losing to San Diego State, but just getting to the tournament was an accomplishment and a reward for all of the hard work that Harrison and company put in for four years.
Harrison was a prolific scorer at St. John’s and is one of the best players to ever put on a St. John’s jersey. He scored over 2,000 points in his career at St. John’s which places him third all time behind Malik Sealy and Chris Mullin. Harrison has the school record for three pointers made. Harrison stuck around at St. John’s when times got tough for him personally and he was suspended from the team, but he came back a better person and player. For that St. John’s fans are grateful because he gave everything to the program. I look forward to when his number is retired and hung in the rafters at Carnesecca Arena.
Describe your time at St. John’s and playing for Coach Lavin.
DH: Some of the best times of my life so far. Lav has been so influential to my life. I did not always understand it at first, but over time he taught me to see the big picture. He changed my life and I love him and communicate with him still to this day. Playing wise I loved it, I like to say I’m a New Yorker now.
Four years in the making, but your senior year you guys made the NCAA tournament. What was that like and how important do you think that was for the program?
DH: Making the NCAA tourney was dream come true. It didn’t go how I wanted it to go, but senior year was a season to never forget. Lav should have stayed. I still don’t understand to this day why after that season they parted ways. Just being part of something bigger and having the city behind us for that run was awesome, something I truly never will forget. It impacted the school for years to come same way the 2011 team did it for us.
Do you still keep in touch with Sir’Dom Pointer, Phil Greene, and Jamal Branch? Thoughts on getting back together for a St. John’s TBT team in the near future?
DH: Yes, we are all still in contact and brothers to this day. Maybe we got to get Lav to coach in it.
Your post collegiate career has taken you to Turkey, Israel, and now Russia. What is playing overseas like and what can we expect from you this year in Russia?
DH: Russian VTB league is one of the best leagues in Europe, so I always take what coach Tony Childs told me to go on multiple 1 game winning streaks, but the goal is always to make the playoffs. My game has changed since college and I’ve learned a lot about different cultures.
When your playing career is over, do you see yourself coaching or possibly returning to St. John’s in some role?
DH: I want to be the head assistant at St.Johns when it’s all said and done.