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July 23, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y.- The dawn of a new era in the BIG EAST Conference, twenty home dates, a neutral-site opener against Wisconsin at The Pentagon in South Dakota, a contest vs. Syracuse at The World's Most Famous Arena in December and appearances in three New York City boroughs during the non-conference season will highlight the 2013-14 St. John's men's basketball schedule.
New York's Team will showcase its talented and veteran roster to basketball fans all throughout the city with games at Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center and Carnesecca Arena before the New Year and beyond.
The Red Storm revealed its non-conference schedule on Tuesday, and in all, St. John's could play 17 regular season games in 2013-14 against teams that participated in the postseason in 2012-13 (NCAA - Bucknell, Butler, Creighton, Georgetown, Marquette, Ole Miss, Syracuse, Villanova, Wisconsin; NIT - Providence; CIT - Youngstown State). By comparison, the Red Storm looked to face 19 such squads headed into last season and finished the year with the No. 37 strength of schedule in the nation.
"At the dawn of a new era for the BIG EAST, our squad will face a rigorous non-conference schedule," said head coach Steve Lavin. "We will travel to meet Bo Ryan's Wisconsin Badgers, and host a slate of formidable opponents including Syracuse. Our Johnnies will play at Madison Square Garden, Carnesecca Arena and the Barclays Center. Once again our non-conference schedule showcases all of the prominent venues in New York City, and gives our fans the chance to support our team in the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn and of course, at The World's Most Famous Arena in midtown Manhattan."
The BIG EAST Conference will release a complete composite schedule for its member schools, including opponents, dates, game times, and both national and regional television information, at a later date. In 2013-14, the first year of the new BIG EAST will feature an 18-game conference schedule with true home-and-home matchups vs. each conference opponent.
Following the annual Red Storm Tip-Off on Oct. 25 as part of the new BIG EAST Tip-Off's national broadcast on FOX Sports 1, St. John's will take to the hardwood with a pair of preseason exhibition contests against NCAA Division II competition.
The first exhibition date, on Saturday, Nov. 2, pits the Red Storm against San Francisco State, where Lavin was a basketball student-athlete for the Gators during 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons.
Said legendary San Francisco State Sports Information Director Sam Goldman, a CoSIDA Hall of Famer, "Steve was typical of the San Francisco State basketball players. All about the same caliber but all were smart players. Those guys were very knowledgeable student-athletes. They used their brains as much as they used their physical skills. There is a lot of respect among that group."
St. John's exhibition calendar concludes with a visit from the Humboldt State Lumberjacks on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at Carnesecca Arena.
Lavin announced in May that his talented and dynamic Red Storm squad will begin its 2013-14 campaign at a neutral venue, taking on perennial Big Ten power Wisconsin on Nov. 8 at the soon-to-be-opened, $19-million Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. The game time and national television information will be announced at a later date.
"Playing a Bo Ryan-coached Badger team gives us an early-season test and an opportunity to get a report card following an offseason that will include a European tour," said Lavin. "Having covered the Big Ten for seven years with ESPN, I developed an appreciation for the cohesive brand of basketball Bo Ryan's teams play. Coach Ryan and I have also partnered in the fight against cancer. We are looking forward to competing against Wisconsin and participating in the first-ever college basketball game at The Pentagon in Sioux Falls."
St. John's is 0-3 against Wisconsin all-time, but the two schools have not met since an 80-70 Badger victory in the 2002 NCAA Tournament in Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center. South Dakota's new Pentagon by Sanford Health will be a 160,000-square-foot, 3,200-seat facility comprised of nine basketball courts (six high school regulation, two professional/college practice courts and the "heritage" court). While the entire structure features modern design and amenities, the heritage court located in the center of the building will pay homage to 1950s/60s basketball and play host to the Red Storm and Badgers.
Non-conference action resumes with four-straight contests at Carnesecca Arena. Following tilts with local squad Wagner (Nov. 15) and 2013 NCAA participant Bucknell (Nov. 19), the Red Storm open play with two on-campus games as part of the Barclays Center Classic presented by Continental Tire. Monmouth comes to Queens on Friday, Nov. 22 followed by Longwood on Tuesday, Nov. 26, prior to St. John's second appearance in two seasons at the new Brooklyn Barclays Center during the fall semester.
The Red Storm joins Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Penn State as the second annual Barclays Center Classic continues in Brooklyn on Nov. 29 and 30, the borough where St. John's was founded in 1870. St. John's meets the Nittany Lions in the second game on Friday, Nov. 29, and faces either the Yellow Jackets or the Rebels in the championship/consolation matchup on Saturday, Nov. 30.
"We are pleased to participate in the 2013 Barclays Center Classic and the BROOKLYN HOOPS Winter Festival. Some of St. John's most-prolific players and loyal fans throughout our storied history have roots that trace back to the borough of Brooklyn," said Lavin. "These events and venue present a nice way to pay homage to that dimension of our legacy and at the same time challenge ourselves against a competitive tournament field."
The Red Storm makes its season debut at the once-again transformed World's Most Famous Arena on Saturday, Dec. 7, as the Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival again takes the form of a one-day doubleheader featuring local squads. A matchup that will be announced later tips things off early in the day, followed for a third-straight year by St. John's and Fordham in the late game.
St. John's and Syracuse announced in January that a home-and-home men's basketball series featuring a game at Madison Square Garden and a contest in the Carrier Dome will begin over the next two seasons. The Red Storm faces the Orange at The Garden on Sunday, Dec. 15, to continue a century-old rivalry. The Red Storm will visit the Carrier Dome during the 2014-15 season on a date to be determined.
"St. John's and Syracuse are two of the storied programs in NCAA history, both with top 10 numbers in overall victories and winning percentage. The Johnnies and Cuse rivalry is now more than a century old and deserves to continue," said Lavin. "We are pleased to extend the series, with a date set for our home court at Madison Square Garden next season, and a 2014-15 meeting at the Carrier Dome, two of the great venues in college basketball."
San Francisco makes a return trip to New York City for a Wednesday, Dec. 18, meeting to conclude a two-year home-and-home series. Lavin's legendary late father, Cap Lavin, was a standout at San Francisco from 1949-52 under two Naismith Hall of Fame coaches, Pete Newell and Phil Woolpert. Cap Lavin is a member of the Dons Hall of Fame and was honored by USF when the Red Storm traveled to San Francisco in December of 2012.
St. John's meets 2013 CIT participant Youngstown State on Saturday, Dec. 21 in an on-campus pre-Christmas tilt. Carnesecca Arena will once again pay tribute to Hall of Fame Coach Lou Carnesecca and ring in festive spirit of the season with a new favorite tradition: "The Ugly Holiday Sweater game."
The Red Storm and Columbia Lions tip-off in the first game of the 2013 BROOKLYN HOOPS Winter Festival presented by Honda on Saturday, Dec. 28, an event that also includes Kansas State vs. Tulane and VCU vs. Boston College. That appearance in Brooklyn comes a month after St. John's Thanksgiving weekend appearance in the Barclays Center Classic with the Yellow Jackets, Rebels and Nittany Lions.
BIG EAST play begins on New Year's Eve, but the final game of St. John's non-conference schedule will occur after the league slate is well underway. Dartmouth of the Ivy League makes its way to Queens for a Jan. 18 tilt at Carnesecca Arena.
The 10-team BIG EAST Championship Tournament takes place at the World's Most Famous Arena from Wednesday, March 12, to Saturday, March 15.
The 2012-13 Red Storm advanced to the Second Round of the National Invitation Tournament and finished its campaign at 17-16 (8-10 BIG EAST). St. John's 83rd winning season in history and second of The Lavin Era was its fifth since 1999-2000. The Red Storm's 2011 NCAA berth and 2013 NIT appearance under Lavin mark the first time since 2002 and 2003 that St. John's reached the postseason twice in a three-year span under one coach. The Red Storm's 63-61 March 19 NIT Opening Round win over Saint Joseph's was the first non-vacated postseason victory for St. John's since the 2001 NCAA Tournament.
St. John's projects to return 91.6 percent of its scoring and 88.3 percent of its rebounding in 2013-14, including 2013 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention selection, unanimous All-Rookie team member, seven-time BIG EAST Rookie of the Week, 2013 MBWA Rookie of the Year and All-Met second team member JaKarr Sampson, who led all BIG EAST freshmen in scoring (14.9 ppg, T-11th overall) and rebounding (6.6 rpg, 11th overall). A game-changing shotblocker and BIG EAST All-Rookie selection, Chris Obekpa led the nation in rejections with a 4.03 blocks per game average and established a new single-season St. John's and BIG EAST freshman mark with 133 rejections on the year. Guard Phil Greene IV scored at a 10.1 ppg clip and displayed his ability as a dynamic playmaker despite a hip injury, and Sir'Dominic Pointer averaged 6.9 points with 5.5 rebounds and led the team with four double-doubles. Leading scorer D'Angelo Harrison (17.8 ppg, third among all BIG EAST players) has joined the squad for Summer II and is currently training with his teammates and the St. John's staff.
The Red Storm also adds 2011 junior college All-American forward Orlando Sanchez, sophomore transfer sharpshooter Max Hooper and redshirt senior big man God'sgift Achiuwa (9.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg in 2011-12) to its active roster, in addition to Top 5 national point guard prospect Rysheed Jordan, who joins the Red Storm this summer in preparation for the 2013-14 campaign.
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