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August 14, 2013

St. John's Taking Europe By Storm





QUEENS, N.Y. - Red Storm fans will get an early glimpse at head coach Steve Lavin's 2013-14 St. John's men's basketball team when the squad storms Europe for a two-week sojourn that begins next week.

The "#SJUBB: Taking Europe By Storm" tour runs from Aug. 19 to Sept. 1 - through France, Italy and Spain - and features five games against professional teams mixed with a variety of educational, cultural and service experiences for the St. John's student-athletes.

"This tour provides a number of excellent opportunities for our student-athletes and in various ways, will be a microcosm of the St. John's University educational experience," said Director of Athletics Chris Monasch. "St. John's has historic ties to the areas our team will be visiting, including campuses in Paris, France, and Rome, Italy. This trip is about more than athletic competition for our team; it will encompass a spirit of global education and the Vincentian Mission of the University via the cultural and service opportunities provided for our student-athletes over the course of the two weeks."

The NCAA allows men's basketball teams one foreign trip every four years and 10 practices prior to the team's departure. The last international trip the Red Storm took was in August of 2009, when the squad traveled to Canada for four days. In general, the pro teams the Red Storm will take on during their tour of Europe in games played in Paris, Rome and Barcelona, will be comprised of Europeans and some Americans. The average opposing player will be 29 years old.

"It's a great opportunity for our 15 student-athletes," Lavin said, referring to St. John's 12 scholarship returners, two walk-ons and Top 20 impact freshman Rysheed Jordan. "The team has already received two lectures on our campus from a St. John's professor this past week, providing a global and historical perspective along with a discussion of the present issues of significance from the regions of the world we will be visiting. These lectures have given our team a better context for our upcoming travel. The practices prior to our departure have been helpful to jumpstart our teaching progression and implement our system at an earlier stage than usual."

Lavin continued, "Equally valuable will be the competitive games in Europe as they will allow our redshirts and transfers to shake the rust off after having sat out this past season. This will also be a valuable experience for our newcomer Rysheed Jordan. Rysheed will be able to accelerate his learning curve by receiving his baptism as a college athlete in Europe. Clearly this foreign tour will be an instructive piece for our staff as we continue building our program. The tour provides our team with an early basketball report card as we move towards the 2013-14 season."

"These two weeks will provide our student-athletes a special opportunity to serve others in the Spirit of St. Vincent DePaul, whose order founded and operates St. John's University, and its Paris and Rome campus locations," said Rev. Richard Rock, C.M., University Chaplain, who will lead a daily team reflection. "Each day will give our men's basketball players a chance to reflect upon their cultural and service experiences and record them in such a way to maximize the educational aspect of the tour."

In addition, FOXSPORTS.com national college basketball reporter Reid Forgrave will be traveling with the team for the first week of the tour, providing written reports. A FOX Sports video crew will also be on tour, capturing footage for FOX Sports 1 and FOXSPORTS.com.

Taking Europe By Storm: Aug. 19 to Sept. 1

PARIS HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit St. John's University Paris Campus and Vincentian Sisters' Retreat House.
  • Seine River Cruise.
  • Visits to Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre Museum, Champs Elysees.
  • Game 1 vs. Rouen Basket (France: Pro B): Wednesday, Aug. 21, 8:30 p.m. (local time)
  • Game 2 vs. Evreux (France: Pro B): Thursday, Aug. 22, 8 p.m. (local time).

    SORRENTO HIGHLIGHTS

  • Guided tour of Pompeii archaeological site.
  • Visit Mount Vesuvius historic site.
  • Mass at Cattedrale dei Sante Filippo Giacomo (Cathedral of Sorrento).

    ROME HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit St. John's University Rome Campus for lecture and community service project.
  • Tour Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain.
  • Visit the Roman Coliseum and Roman Forum.
  • Tour the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica.
  • Game 3 vs. Stella Azzurra (Italy: Nazionale B): Tuesday, Aug. 27, 7 p.m. (local time).

    BARCELONA HIGHLIGHTS

  • Walking tour of Barcelona city center and soup kitchen service project.
  • Tour of Barcelona, including Parque Guell heritage site featuring the works of architect Antoni Guadi.
  • Mass at Basilica de la Sagrada Familia.
  • Game 4 vs. CB Prat Joventut Badalona (Spain: LEB Gold - Second Division) as part of the 29th Saint Julia de Vilatorta Basketball Tournament. Friday, Aug. 30, 8 p.m. (local time).
  • Game 5 vs. Basquet Manresa (Spain: Liga ACB) as part of 29th Saint Julia de Vilatorta Basketball Tournament. Saturday, Aug. 31, 8 p.m. (local time).


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