Rysheed Jordan to sit out vs. DePaul

NEW YORK -- St. John's freshman guard Rysheed Jordan will sit out Sunday's game against DePaul as he continues to mourn the loss of a close relative.

Jordan's aunt, Niaja Kane, died tragically at age 32 in Philadelphia on Feb. 22 -- the same day Jordan was playing his first college game in his hometown, against Villanova.

Jordan attended Kane's funeral in Philadelphia on Friday, and remained home afterward. St. John's coach Steve Lavin attended the funeral as well.

"It was a difficult day for him, probably the toughest day he's had in his life," Lavin said Saturday. "So he's at a place where we just need to take it kind of hour to hour, because each person is unique in how they grieve and how they deal with loss emotionally."

Jordan did play in St. John's next game, a loss to Xavier at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, scoring 11 points in 30 minutes off the bench. But Lavin said Jordan seemed particularly affected by the funeral.

Jordan is scheduled to return to New York on Saturday night, and Lavin expects him to be in street clothes on the bench Sunday.

"We're not putting any pressure on him in terms of the basketball side of things," Lavin said. "Just trying to at this point give him as much support as possible, and let him know we care about him. When he gets to a good place emotionally, we'll start to talk about the basketball."

St. John's (18-11, 8-8 Big East) desperately needs a win against DePaul, as it continues its late-season push for an NCAA tournament at-large bid. After an 0-5 start in the Big East, the Red Storm won nine of 10 games from Jan. 18 to Feb. 18, but have since lost two straight.

Jordan, the preseason Big East Rookie of the Year, has come on strong of late, scoring in double figures in seven of the team's past 10 games. He is currently third on the team in scoring (9.0 points per game) and tops in assists (3.2 per game).