Da'Shena Stevens | Assistant Coach
One of the greatest women's basketball players to ever take the floor at Carnesecca Arena, Da'Shena Stevens is coming home to St. John's. Three years removed from a stellar career that saw her finish sixth on the school's all-time scoring list, Stevens has accepted a position on Joe Tartamella's coaching staff.
"It's with great pleasure that we welcome back a member of our family in Da'Shena," said Tartamella. "She left here as the most decorated player in program history and nobody could speak better to our program than someone who was an integral part of the history and the legacy that we've built over the last 10 years. We are all excited to welcome her back to the St. John's family."
Stevens, who graduated in 2012, scored 1,515 points during her collegiate career in red and white, the sixth-highest total in program history. The Stamford, Conn., native also pulled down 815 rebounds during her playing days, one of only three student athletes to grab more than 800 boards during a career.
"I am very excited to return to my alma mater in support of a program that I grew within and strongly believe in," said Stevens. "Coach Tartamella is one of the hardest working coaches I know and I am honored to be a part of his coaching staff."
Stevens received numerous accolades during her time at St. John's, highlighted by the BIG EAST Scholar Athlete of the Year Award during her senior campaign in 2011-12. She was also a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award and the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award that season. For her successes on the court, Stevens was named to the All-BIG East Second Team, the All-Met First Team and the WBCA Regional All-America Team.
"I am delighted to welcome back one of our all-time scoring and rebounding leaders, but more importantly to welcome back and outstanding person who epitomizes the term student--athlete," said Associate Vice President for Athletics and Senior Women's Administrator Kathleen Meehan.
After sitting out the first 10 games of her senior season while rehabbing a knee injury, Stevens returned to average 11.3 points and 5.9 rebounds for the Red Storm. She captained St. John's to its most successful run in the NCAA Tournament that year, tallying double figures in all three tournament games as the Red Storm reached the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history.
As a junior, Stevens averaged 11.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game to find spots on the All-BIG EAST Second Team and the All-Met First Team, in addition to earning a place on the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District team. Stevens is the only player in St. John's history to garner Academic All-District accolades. In the NCAA Tournament that season, Stevens grabbed 10 rebounds to help lead the Red Storm over Texas Tech before recording her 21st double-digit scoring performance of the season in the second round against Stanford.
Stevens' best season came as a sophomore in 2009-10, when she led the squad with 14.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest. For her efforts, she was named Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America--the only player in program history to receive the honor-- and a WBCA Regional All-American. She also found a spot on the All-BIG EAST First Team and took home MBWA All-Met Player of the Year accolades. In addition to her personal accomplishments, Stevens helped lead the Red Storm to a 25-7 record and the school's first of five-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
Following her rookie campaign in 2008-09, Stevens became the first player at St. John's in 26 years to earn BIG EAST Freshman of the Year honors after being the only unanimous selection to the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team. She also garnered what would be the first of four-straight All-Met First Team selections.
Stevens played one year of professional basketball in Switzerland following her graduation from St. John's with a degree in accounting.
Prior to St. John's, Stevens spent the past year working at Wagner College as the athletic department's Director of Business and Finance, where she oversaw all business aspects of the school's 20 athletic programs.
Before Wagner, she spent a year as an assurance associate at McGladrey, LLP, working with the firm's engagement team on financial services, financial institutions and commercial clients.
Jonath Nicholas | Assistant Coach
Jonath Nicholas made his return to the St. John's women's basketball bench in June 2012, hired by Coach Joe Tartamella right after he took over the reins of the program. Nicholas, who spent four seasons at Providence prior to returning to St. John's, brings nearly a decade of BIG EAST experience to the Red Storm sidelines. At St. John's, his responsibilities include recruiting, player development, opponent scouting in addition to any other duties assigned.
In his first term with St. John's, 2004-08, Nicholas helped guide the Red Storm to some of its most successful seasons under the direction of former head coach Kim Barnes Arico, including St. John's first NCAA Tournament in nearly 20 years during the 2005-06 season. The Red Storm qualified for the BIG EAST Conference Tournament during all four of Nicholas' seasons, earned two WNIT invitations (2005, 2008) and had two 20-win seasons.
During 2005-06, Nicholas helped the Red Storm finish with a 22-8 overall record and saw the team advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 78-68 win over California in State College, Pa. The 2006 Red Storm was bounced from the tournament by the eventual national champion, Maryland.
In his four-year tenure, Nicholas was responsible for recruiting, scouting and player development, as well as assisting the staff with game preparation and game coaching. Nicholas was largely responsible for the recruitment of some of St. John's women's basketball's greatest names, including Da'Shena Stevens, Sky Lindsay and Monique McLean. Stevens, who graduated in May 2012, finished her career as the most-decorated Red Storm student-athlete in program history, starting as the 2009 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and ending as the BIG EAST Scholar Athlete of the Year and BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award honoree. In between she earned WBCA All-Region accolades twice, All-BIG EAST postseason awards three times and was a Naismith Candidate for three-straight seasons. Lindsay helped change the face of Red Storm women's basketball, as she was an instant starter and set the St. John's record for career games (132). McLean, another All-BIG EAST honoree, was a key contributor to the Red Storm's run in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, finishing her career with her name etched in eight of St. John's top 10 offensive categories.
After his first stint at St. John's, Nicholas spent four years at Providence College, first as an assistant coach before being elevated to associate head coach in 2010. With the Friars, he was responsible for game strategy preparation, recruiting, opponent scouting, coaching clinics, scheduling and budget organization. He also served as an ambassador of the Friars' program with speaking engagements and as a regular guest on the Friars radio show. At Providence, Nicholas helped bring in a top 20 recruiting class in 2010, which included Alicia Cropper, rated No. 32 by ESPN Hoop Gurlz, Lauren Okafor, rated No. 85 by All Star Girls' Report and an eventual BIG EAST All-Freshman honoree, Tia Wright, who led the BIG EAST in double-doubles in 2011, Miranda Tate, rated No. 45 by All Star Girls' Report and Rachel Barnes, a WBCA Junior College All-American.
Before making his mark in the BIG EAST, Nicholas spent two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he was responsible for guard development, recruiting and video coordination. Nicholas was responsible for signing former UAB stand-out Carmen Guzman, a four-year starter for the Blazers who went on to earn Conference USA Player of the Year honors and was a finalist for the KODAK/WBCA All-America team. Nicholas also recruited Crystal McFadden, another All-Conference USA selection.
Nicholas also served as Associate Head Coach at Southwestern Community College in San Diego, Calif. from 1988-99. While at SCC, he helped develop 10 Junior College All-Americans and 16 student-athletes who went on to play NCAA Division I basketball.
Nicholas also enjoyed a stellar playing career at UAB from 1980-82 under Hall of Famer Gene Bartow. As a junior, he helped his team advance to the NCAA Sweet 16, the first-ever NCAA appearance by the Blazers. The following season, the Blazers posted a 25-6 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight. He remains among the top-10 at UAB in free throw percentage and led the Sun Belt Conference in free throw percentage while in Birmingham.
Prior to UAB, he played two seasons at Mesa Community College in San Diego, where he set single-season and single-game scoring records. Nicholas was voted a Junior College All-American and was also named the best "Freshman Performer" by Street & Smith's.
Nicholas completed his bachelor's degree in physical education from Trinity University in 1997. Nicholas and his wife, Roz Ervin, have two sons, Branden and Courtney.
Rory Kuhn | Assistant Coach
One of the brightest up and coming basketball minds in all of college hoops, Rory Kuhn has signed on to join Joe Tartamella’s staff at St. John’s.
“I’m really excited to be here and to come home,” Kuhn said. “Being from New York, St. John’s has that allure and it’s exciting for a New Yorker to be able to say you’re going to be working at St. John’s. I’m excited to get to work and I’m excited to be home. There’s nothing better than that.”
After spending the past four seasons as an assistant with the Northwest Florida men’s basketball program, Kuhn, a New York native, will be returning home where he previously coached high school ball.
During his tenure at Northwest Florida, Kuhn helped guide the Raiders to an unprecedented level of success. Northwest Florida made three-straight NJCAA Elite Eight appearances, a pair of Final Fours and took home the 2014-15 National Championship. In four years with Kuhn on the sidelines, Northwest Florida compiled an 111-19 record, won three Panhandle Conference Championships and back-to-back Florida State Championships.
Additionally, Kuhn mentored three-straight Panhandle Conference Players of the Year in Benji Bell (2014-15), Shadell Malinghaus (2015-16) and Jeromy Rodriguez (2016-17).
“Rory will be a great addition to our program,” Tartamella said. “His experience coaching at all levels will make an immediate impact. He comes from a highly regarded junior college program at Northwest Florida where he helped the program win a National Championship. I have known him for a long time and he comes from a great basketball family. I’m happy we’re able to bring him back home and we are all excited he is part of the St. John’s family.”
Prior to joining the Northwest Florida staff in 2013-14, Kuhn coached high school on Long Island for nine years, spending time at East Islip High School and Smithtown High School. During his playing days, Kuhn was an Academic All-American at Suffolk Community College. Following his stint at Suffolk, Kuhn completed his undergraduate degree at SUNY Cortland, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in English. Later, Kuhn completed his Master of Science degree in Special Education.
Matt Bernstein | Director of Operations
Matt Bernstein, a double alumnus of the University, returned to the St. John’s basketball family in October of 2015, taking on a role as the assistant director of basketball operations and was promoted following the 2016-17 campaign to director of basketball operations.
Bernstein began his career with St. John’s basketball as an undergraduate, serving as a student manager for Head Coach Norm Roberts. In the 2008-09 school year, Bernstein was promoted to the position of head student manager, overseeing a staff of 12 and taking on several important administrative responsibilities for the team.
Following his graduation from St. John’s with a B.S. in sports management in May of 2009, Bernstein stayed on with the men’s basketball squad, becoming a graduate assistant for the next two seasons. During that time, Bernstein took on even greater administrative duties and also performed many video coordination responsibilities. In the middle of his two-year tenure as a graduate assistant, Bernstein was integral in facilitating the transition to a new coaching staff for the 2010-11 season, a campaign that saw the Red Storm make its first NCAA Tournament in nearly a decade. Bernstein graduated with a masters in sports management, focusing in coaching and leadership, the following January.
Beginning in October of 2012, Bernstein began working on campus at the St. John’s Freshman Center, serving as an assistant to the director of the department. In this role, Bernstein provided developmental advising to first year students and acted as a liaison between students and academic support services, faculty and residential life.
Shenneika Smith | Assistant Director of Operations
Shenneika Smith, one of the most decorated players to ever suit up for St. John’s, joins the women’s basketball staff as Assistant Director of Basketball Operations.
Smith, who was St. John’s second-ever WNBA draft pick after being selected 25th overall by the New York Liberty in the 2013 draft, returns to the Red Storm after two years of professional basketball and seven seasons with the Jamaican National Team. Professionally, Smith spent time with the Liberty, Connecticut Suns, Quinta Dos Lombos (Portugal) and Uni Girona (Spain). Additionally, Smith led the Jamaican National Team to the 2014 FIBA Women CBC championship.
While at St. John’s, Smith led the team in scoring in each of her final three seasons and was a 2013 WBCA All-America Honorable Mention, the 2012 All-Met Player of the Year, a two-time All-BIG EAST First Team pick and a two-time All-Met First Team honoree.
Dave Adams | Graduate Assistant
Dave Adams, a St. John’s women’s basketball manager and assistant to the head coach during the history 2015-16 BIG EAST Championship season, returned to Queens as a graduate assistant in the summer of 2017.
A native of Jamaica, N.Y., Adams held many responsibilities as manager and assistant to Head Coach Joe Tartamella during his time at St. John’s, including forming marketing plans for recruits, statistical analysis, and handing day-to-day tasks under the direction of Coach Tartamella.
Most recently, Adams worked with the New York Knicks and New York Liberty in the marketing and fan development departments where he represented the Knicks and Liberty at community events and collected data through interaction with fans while distributing marketing collateral.
Previously, Adams interned within the St. John’s Athletic Marketing and Communications offices, assisting with the promotion and publicity of the University’s varsity athletic programs.
A sports management major, Adams graduated from St. John’s in May 2016.