Mustapha Heron remembered the first time he faced Arkansas and then-coach Mike Anderson. By the second media timeout, he was winded, his legs ached. He was fatigued from the relentless full-court pressure Anderson’s team employed.

“It’s definitely different,” the senior St. John’s wing recalled inside the Garden on Thursday morning during Big East media day. “Pressure busts pipes. Pressure is hard for anybody to handle.”

The Johnnies hope Anderson’s style — based on mentor Nolan Richardson’s “40 Minutes of Hell” pressure — has that kind of effect on the rest of the Big East now that he is at the helm for the Red Storm. Several teams in the league play up-tempo, but nobody employs this kind of system.

“That’s a special preparation,” said Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard, who faced, and lost, to Anderson and Arkansas in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. “When you have to be a special prep team, I think that’s what make him and his teams very difficult.”

The first step is getting into shape to employ the frenetic pace their new coach has made a career of utilizing. The first three weeks of preseason included 6 a.m. conditioning workouts. The next step is “game shape,” as Anderson said, to not only use his system, but excel at it.

It will be a work in progress, Anderson admitted. It’s a new system with a new coach and a roster that includes just two returning starters. St. John’s was picked to finish ninth in the Big East, as voted on by the conference’s coaches — understandable considering so much uncertainty, according to Anderson.

Heron and LJ Figueroa, both selected to the league’s second team, are the givens. The duo averaged a combined 29 points and 11 rebounds per game last season under former coach Chris Mullin. But leading scorer Shamorie Ponds is now in the NBA. So is Big East Defensive Player of the Year Justin Simon. Marvin Clark II, another starter, is playing professionally overseas.

“At the same time, everywhere I’ve been, when I came in we were picked somewhere near the bottom and somehow we didn’t end up at the bottom,” Anderson said.

LJ Figueroa
LJ FigueroaGetty Images

Added Heron: “I think that definitely will be something that will be up on that board. … I think we’re going to surprise people because of our style of play. The Big East hasn’t seen the way we’re going to play in a long time.”

Anderson talked up sophomores Josh Roberts, Greg Williams and Marcellus Earlington, all of whom saw sparse playing time as freshmen, and there is hope transfers Ian Steere (N.C. State) and Rasheem Dunn (Cleveland State) can make an impact if given waivers to be eligible immediately.

Anderson plans to play a lot of guys, starting with an eight-man rotation and possibly going even deeper. That’s typically how his style works, with a deep bench that wears down the opponent. He’s always played this way for two reasons: It’s what he learned as a player and assistant coach under Richardson, and it has always worked. Anderson has never had a losing season in 17 years as a head coach at UAB, Missouri and Arkansas.

“We win,” the 59-year-old coach said with a smile. “How simple is that?

“The kids enjoy playing it that way, and I’m doing it my way.”