May 14, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's head men's basketball coach Steve Lavin announced Tuesday 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.
St. John's adds the contest, plus a meeting with NYC Ivy League squad Columbia at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Saturday, Dec. 28, as part of the second annual BROOKLYN HOOPS Winter Festival, to a previously-announced non-conference slate that already includes an appearance with Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Penn State in the second annual Barclays Center Classic on Nov. 29 and 30, and a meeting with Syracuse at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Dec. 15.
"Playing a Bo Ryan-coached Badger team gives us an early-season test and an opportunity to get an early report card," 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 complete non-conference schedule will be announced in the early summer. The Red Storm joins Butler, Creighton, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova and Xavier in the new BIG EAST Conference for the 2013-14 season.
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.
The Red Storm and Columbia Lions will tip-off in the first game of the 2013 BROOKLYN HOOPS Winter Festival presented by Honda on Saturday, Dec. 28, which will also include 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.
"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."
Tickets for Barclays Center college basketball events are available through Ticketmaster by visiting www.barclayscenter.com or www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the Box Office at Barclays Center.
St. John's meeting with The Orange at The Garden on Sunday, Dec. 15, continues 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."
For more information on St. John's Season Ticket information, fans can visit RedStormTix.com or call the Carnesecca Arena Ticket Office at 1-888-GO-STORM. Office hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fans can request to be contacted by filling out an online information request here.
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 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. Leading scorer D'Angelo Harrison (17.8 ppg, third among all BIG EAST players) is currently working with the St. John's coaching staff toward a reinstatement to the team after a March 1 suspension.
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 now-signed Top 5 national point guard prospect Rysheed Jordan, who joins the Red Storm this summer in preparation for the 2013-14 campaign.