Friendship of Steve Lavin and his mentor, Gene Keady, drives St. John's

Although Gene Keady (right) can't work with players in games, he offers insights to Lavin (left) and his coaches.
Mark Zerof/US Presswire

The dynamic of their friendship is on display after a win over Monmouth in November, as the two retreated to Lavin's office and split a bottle of wine, reminiscing well into the night. While Lavin recounts his days at Purdue, Keady pores over the game's box score, periodically interrupting his pupil to remark on a particularly noteworthy stat. The two banter and tease each other, the mark of a true friendship. Lavin jokingly refers to Keady as Mr. Miyagi, a basketball Buddha and a wise old owl. When Keady shares one of his time-tested theories on winning basketball games -- if you score the first basket of the game, the last of the first half and the first of the second half, you're guaranteed to win -- Lavin laughs him off. But then he grows serious and remembers who he is talking to and who he is talking about: Keady, one of the all-time coaching greats.

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