Aug 14, 2013
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."
"#SJUBB: Taking Europe By Storm" daily reports, video recaps and photo galleries on RedStormSports.com will be used to chronicle the two-week journey, as well as the official Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts of St. John's Basketball, including daily student-athlete photos and reflections on the Hammer 2 Rock Hoops Facebook page. Fans can stay up-to-date with the Red Storm on social media by visiting the new StormTracker Social Media Directory, online here.
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.
#SJUBB: Taking Europe By Storm: Aug. 19 to Sept. 1
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 3 national point guard prospect and No. 17 overall recruit Jordan, who joined the Red Storm this summer in preparation for the 2013-14 campaign.
St. John's Season Tickets and Student Season Tickets are available now. For more 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. (closed Fridays through Aug. 16). Fans can request to be contacted by filling out an online information request here. Basketball supporters can join the Red White Club by visiting RedStormSports.com and clicking on the link to "Giving" to visit the Red White website.