Jordan rejoins St. John's, available against No. 8 Villanova
NEW YORK (AP) St. John's guard Rysheed Jordan has rejoined the team following his grandmother's death and will be available to play Tuesday night against No. 8 Villanova.
Jordan, the second-leading scorer for the 24th-ranked Red Storm, took an ''indefinite'' leave of absence last week due to ''personal and family matters'' at home in Philadelphia. He missed a 73-69 home loss to Butler on Saturday, and St. John's (11-3, 0-2 Big East) dropped nine spots in The Associated Press poll Monday following consecutive defeats.
Red Storm coach Steve Lavin said in a statement that Jordan returned to practice Monday and will be in uniform Tuesday at Madison Square Garden against the Wildcats (13-1, 1-1).
''Rysheed has returned from his home after going through a challenging week,'' Lavin said.
The 6-foot-4 sophomore, a highly touted recruit, ranks sixth in the Big East in scoring (14 points per game) and fifth in steals (2.1 per game).
Lavin initially said after Saturday's game that Jordan would not play against Villanova.
''He's got a good group of people here that care about him. Sometimes the best remedy for a heavy heart is getting back to doing the thing you love and to be with people that care,'' Lavin said Monday. ''We have a six-man rotation that allowed us to get off to our best start since 1985-86. The positive with Rysheed's return is that we have the pieces back in place that led to our 11-2 start. Naturally, it's tough anytime we don't have our full complement of players.''
A preseason All-Big East second team selection, Jordan started the first five games of the season before committing nine turnovers in a loss to then-No. 10 Gonzaga. He has been coming off the bench since, but was averaging 29 minutes per game.
He also missed a Dec. 22 win over Long Beach State with what the school said was the flu.
''It's exciting. I'm glad that he is back with us. Villanova is his hometown team, so he's going to be fired up to play them,'' said senior guard D'Angelo Harrison, the Red Storm's top scorer.