By Tom Ballato
Paris Horne burst onto the scene at St. John’s in 2007. He played in all 30 games as a freshman and became someone coach Norm Roberts relied on off the bench. His sophomore year, Paris played in 33 out of 34 games and started 31 of them. He led the team in scoring with 14.6 ppg (points per game) a big jump from 5.1 ppg, which he averaged as a freshman.
As a junior, Paris averaged 9.1 ppg and played in all of the Red Storm’s games. His senior year, St. John’s decided on a coaching change and hired Steve Lavin and assistant Mike Dunlap. That year St. John’s finished with a 21-12 record and made the NCAA Tournament. Horne started 20 out of 33 games and was a key part of St. John’s run to the tournament. That year they defeated Georgetown, Duke, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Villanova who were all ranked teams. They finished ranked 18th overall at the end of the season.
After graduating, Paris went on to play professionally overseas. He had a stint with the Charlotte Bobcats’ summer league team which was coached by former St. John’s assistant Mike Dunlap. He was later waived by the Bobcats, but got valuable experience during his time with the team.
Paris has enjoyed success the past four summers playing in the The Basketball Tournament (TBT) with Overseas Elite alongside former St. John’s teammates D.J. Kennedy and Justin Burrell. Overseas Elite has won four straight TBT championships and has gone undefeated since they began playing in 2015 with a record of 25-0.
Paris improved every season he played at St. John’s. He was a great defender, slasher, and loved to soar above the rim. He had a great mid-range game and was a 35% percent three point shooter for his career at St. John’s, but he was known for hitting clutch shots.
What made you decide to come to St. John’s and who was your mentor?
Justin Burrell actually had a big part of me coming to St. John’s. He was my roommate in Bridgeton Academy almost everyday he would sell me on coming to St. John’s and being apart of something new trying to bring St. John’s back on the map as far as making it to the tournament. I have always been a person that likes a challenge and I really felt like we could do it, so I made my decision to come. My father and family were my mentors.
How would you describe your time at St. John’s?
My time at St. John’s was pretty much great. I enjoyed the full life of a college athlete!
Your senior year you guys beat a bunch of ranked teams and made the tournament, what was that experience like?
My senior year beating all those ranked teams felt so good. It felt even better because we knew that this was our last season together and unfortunately in our early years we had a few injuries to guys that could have changed things for us in the past . Playing in the NCAA Tournament was unbelievable, just playing in that type of atmosphere would get anyone pumped up for a game.
What is your fondest memory or game from your time at St. John’s?
My fondest moment may have been my sophomore year season. To see the jump we took as a team from our freshman year to our sophomore was incredible. You could see the potential we had! My fondest memory of games would have to be the Duke game at the Garden our senior year and my sophomore year game against Rutgers when I missed 1 field goal. I went 12-13 I believe and I have a lot more but those are the two that stick out to me!
How did the team come together before the tournament after losing D.J. Kennedy to an injury?
After losing D.J. in the Big East Tournament it was tough for us, but coach Lavin and the staff always prepared us to be ready for anything and just have the next man step up . It just hurt because D.J. has always been apart of our success and he was a senior having a solid season so far for it to end like that made us more motivated.
Have you been following the recent teams at St. John’s and what are your thoughts on Mullin’s system?
Yes, I always follow the Johnnies and coach Mullin’s team. I like them a lot and the system is great to me. You can see the players really enjoy playing together. I think the system works for the guys he has. He’s putting everyone in a system that works to their strengths.
Coach Dunlap brought you in on a training camp invite with the Charlotte Bobcats. What did you learn about yourself and game playing against the competition and fighting for a roster spot?
I learned a lot during the time I spent with coach Dunlap and the the Charlotte Bobcats. At the time, I learned that you have to bring your game everyday because just about everyone in the league can play at a high level, so you have to work everyday to get advantage. I learned about myself that I could play at the level if I got the right timing and opportunity. During that time, I got to battle some of the guys like Kemba Walker, Ben Gordon, Ramon Session, and a few other guys to help push my game to another level. I enjoyed every moment of it. I thank coach Dunlap greatly for even giving me the chance to experience that!
Where have you played overseas since St. John’s and where are you playing now?
Since St. John’s, I played in Germany, Greece, Turkey, Japan, Romania, Finland, and Morocco. I’m currently in Morocco now!
D.J. Kennedy, Justin Burrell and yourself have had success with winning the TBT Tournament with Overseas Elite. How is it playing with your former teammates again and what do you think has been the key to your success?
Playing in the TBT with D.J. and Justin has been great for me. Those guys are like my brothers and being on the team together is pretty easy for us because we all know each other’s games for the most part. I think the key to success for us is just the unselfishness and all of us having the same common goal! Also having God on your side alway helps!