Former St. John’s wing, LJ Figueroa has officially announced that he will be transferring Oregon. He chose Oregon over Memphis and Auburn who both also actively recruited him.
After a strong sophomore campaign, this past season it appeared LJ took a step back. He struggled when he was relied on as a the number one scoring option. With Mustapha Heron in and out of games due to injuries, the scoring burden was left on Figueroa’s shoulders almost all the time.
This past season he averaged 14.5 points and was 37.9% shooting from the field. While he was a bit lackluster on the offensive side, Figueroa led the Big East in steals per game with 1.9 steals.
What makes this transfer decision difficult for me to understand is that Figueroa appeared to be a perfect fit in Mike Anderson’s system as he excelled in full court press scenarios and was lethal in transition. He also would likely have yet again been the number one scoring option for the Johnnies which would have been a great opportunity to show NBA scouts what he is capable of.
What makes it even more difficult for me to understand is that LJ will likely have to sit out the 2020-2021 season. Now, people are speculating that he may be able to obtain a waiver do due coronavirus circumstances in New York City. But, if that doesn’t happen, then Figueroa just delayed his professional career by an extra year; strange for someone who has his name in the draft this year.
LJ Figueroa will likely revert back to being a role player at Oregon, as he was in his first year at St. John’s when he played alongside Shamorie Ponds and company. He will undoubtedly excel in this role just as he did two years ago.
Figueroa said in his tweet that he looks forward to “competing for a National Championship” with the Ducks. This is perhaps the best thing about him joining Oregon. He will have a legit shot at winning a National Championship, something St. John’s couldn’t offer him. If going deep in March was the deciding factor for him then that makes sense to me.
As for the disappointed St. John’s fans, WE WILL BE OKAY! We have great recruits coming in and I have nothing but confidence in Mike Anderson and his staff in year 2.