Posh Alexander’s ‘hidden thing’ inside helped his Butler revival after St. John’s transfer

Posh Alexander’s ‘hidden thing’ inside helped his Butler revival after St. John’s transfer

For three years, Posh Alexander was one of the faces of St. Johns basketball.

The Brooklyn kid who played the game like his next meal depended on it, who picked up the opposing point guard full court and became an immediate fan favorite with his nonstop effort and dogged determination.

Tuesday, he returns as the enemy, as one of surprising Butlers leaders, looking to do to St. Johns guards what Johnnies fans rooted for him to do to the opposition for years.

After a down year last winter, Alexander has rediscovered his game with the Bulldogs, looking much more like the player who was so productive in his first two seasons in Queens than the one who struggled so much as a junior.

The thing that impresses the most about him is how much he cares about people and his teammates. He has just done a tremendous job from Day 1 of helping freshmen, Butler coach Thad Matta said on Monday ahead of the reunion. Theres a hidden thing in him, that he wants to win like nobody I ever coached before. Hes got dreams, hes got his aspirations, but he loves to see his teammates play well. Thats a great attribute that he has.

Posh_Alexander_s__hidden_thing__inside_helped_his_Butler_revival_after_St__John_s_transfer3Posh Alexander has helped Butler win 10 of its first 13 games since transferring from St. John’s in the offseason. Getty ImagesThere was a brief period, shortly after Rick Pitino took over at St. Johns (9-4, 1-1), that it looked like Alexander could remain in Queens.

Pitino was open to keeping him.

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Posh Alexander among three St. John’s players entering transfer portal as Rick Pitino remakes roster

But both sides eventually agreed they would be better going their separate ways.

I think Posh in is a great place. Hes starting. All the guys who left, theyre all playing great, said Pitino, who declined to go into specifics on the situation. It worked out great for everybody involved. We know hes a terrific basketball player. Im happy hes doing great.

Pitino turned over the roster, the only returning players being Joel Soriano and Drissa Traore, and brought his point guard from Iona University, Daniss Jenkins, with him.

Alexander remained in the Big East and helped Butler get off to a fast start, with 10 wins in its first 13 games.

Matta surrounded Alexander with shooters, giving him the space rarely afforded to him at St. Johns.

So far this year, hes averaging 10.7 points, 5.2 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals.

Posh_Alexander_s__hidden_thing__inside_helped_his_Butler_revival_after_St__John_s_transfer3Posh Alexander, who spent three seasons at St. John’s, transferred after Rick Pitino was hired. Corey Sipkin for the NY PostMatta raved about Alexander the person, calling him a terrific teammate.

Immediately upon his arrival, he was helping out younger players.

Adviser/former AAU coach Shandue McNeil thinks Alexander has matured and understands better now what it takes to win playing for a coach who believes in him.

They needed him to be successful, McNeil said. That was very important to him.

He has been a hard worker and has taken to coaching well.

One big adjustment for Alexander, according to Matta, was realizing defense went beyond stopping his own man.

He had to learn to play help defense.

Hes doing a great job of running our team. Thats something that I promised that I would teach him how to run a basketball team, the Butler coach said. Posh is an emotional kid, he can get emotional throughout the course of a game. But if you look at it, hes done a lot better. I got into him at a halftime a few games ago, because he was kind of fading on me. He came out, had a great second half.

Posh_Alexander_s__hidden_thing__inside_helped_his_Butler_revival_after_St__John_s_transfer3Posh Alexander, pictured last season with St. John’s, has averaged 10.7 points, 5.2 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game since transferring. Charles WenzelbergIt figures to be an emotional night for Alexander.

St. Johns was his home for three years.

But he hasnt told Matta the game has any extra significance.

He only played with Soriano and Traore, so its not like the Johnnies are full of former teammates.

I think hes in a good spot going back there and I hope he plays well, Matta said. He really hasnt said, like hey, This one means the world to me. Thats one of the things I love about him. He knows this is game three of a 20-game schedule in the Big East, because hes been there before. I know he wants to play well, and that sort of thing.

St. Johns forward Chris Ledlum (sprained ankle) practiced on Monday, but his status is still uncertain for the game.

He missed St. Johns win over Hofstra on Saturday.

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