QUEENS, N.Y.- Head men's coach Steve Lavin, head women's coach Joe Tartamella and the Red Storm men's and women's basketball teams invite all St. John's fans to the 2012 Red Storm Tip-Off Presented by Subway on Union Turnpike, a season-opening celebration scheduled for Friday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. at Carnesecca Arena.
ADMISSION IS FREE BUT SPACE IS LIMITED. This year's Red Storm Tip-Off is once again open to the public, with free tickets available for pickup beginning at 2 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the Carnesecca Arena Ticket Office. Doors open at 7 p.m., and attendance at the event earns St. John's students +3 MVP points.
ESPN Sports Center's John Anderson will be back in Queens to host an evening where the 2012-13 men's and women's basketball teams will be introduced, and Lavin and Tartamella will address fans and preview the excitement of the upcoming season.
Hip hop duo Chiddy Bang will be on hand to entertain fans, and both teams will participate in basketball exhibitions - with a slam dunk contest for the Red Storm men - as part of what is sure to be an outstanding evening of giveaways, performances and surprises on St. John's Queens Campus. One lucky fan will even have the opportunity to take home $30,000 by making a half-court shot.
The event will be carried live nationally in its entirety beginning at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN3 as a production of the newly-created St. John's Television Network (STJ-TV). St. John's will be one of only eight schools with live ESPN3 coverage for its entire event, with live look-ins from ESPNU. Announcer Ralph Bednarczyk will bring fans all of the action from courtside as former St. John's standout Tarik Turner and former Dartmouth star Samantha Berdinka provide fans with preseason analysis of the Red Storm men's and women's teams. "The Coach" Tim O'Toole will conduct interviews from the sidelines, joining the thousands of Red Storm fans expected to be on hand in Queens and those able to access ESPN3 - available in approximately 73 million households nationwide through an affiliated provider - online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE.
Lavin's returning core includes BIG EAST All-Rookie team member D'Angelo Harrison, combo guard Phil Greene, swingmen Sir'Dominic Pointer and Amir Garrett, and big man God's gift Achiuwa.
Its nationally-ranked No. 8 recruiting class is comprised of eight standout student-athletes representing five countries, with many who played in the New York area in the past several seasons. The elite group includes West African guard Felix Balamou, French shooter and playmaker Marco Bourgault, Texas A&M transfer point guard Jamal Branch, sharpshooting Harvard transfer Max Hooper, stalwart power forward Christian Jones, top 20 Nigerian center Chris Obekpa, 2011-12 New England Preparatory School Athletic Council AAA Player of the Year and National Prep Championship Tournament MVP JaKarr Sampson and Dominican-born JUCO All-America forward Orlando Sanchez.
With a newly-hired head coach in Tartamella, the 2012-13 Red Storm squad returns four starters, eight letterwinners and 79 percent of its scoring from its 2011-12 team that posted a 24-10 overall record and advanced to the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. The 2011-12 Red Storm also enjoyed a No. 3 seed, a program best, and finished second in the BIG EAST Conference (13-3) after being picked to finish seventh in the league's preseason poll. St. John's defeated six ranked opponents and finished the season ranked No. 13/15 in the national polls. The 2012-13 Red Storm, led by senior WBCA All-Region standouts Nadirah McKenith and Shenneika Smith, along with seasoned-veterans Eugeneia McPherson and 2012 BIG EAST All-Rookie selection Amber Thompson, St. John's was selected as one of ESPN's 25 teams to watch, with the Red Storm at No. 10.