St. John's Tips Off the Chris Mullin Era on Friday versus Wagner|
Nov. 11, 2015
QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's tips off the 108th season in its storied men's basketball history on Friday as the Red Storm hosts Wagner at 6 p.m. in Queens on FS1. It will be a historic night inside Carnesecca Arena as "A New Beginning" for St. John's gets underway with Hall of Famer Chris Mullin's coaching debut 30 years after guiding the program to the Final Four.
Kenny Albert and Bill Raftery have the call for the national telecast on FS1. St. John's radio broadcast, featuring John Minko and Brandon Tierney, will air on 570 AM WMCA and is available outside the local region through the TuneIn app.
St. John's has a fresh look for the 2015-16 campaign, returning only three players from the 2014-15 NCAA Tournament squad that won 21 games. The Red Storm will be led by a pair of graduate transfers in Durand Johnson (Baltimore, Md.) and Ron Mvouika (Paris, France), who bring Division I experience to a roster filled with 11 newcomers. With less than four percent of the scoring offense, eight percent of rebounding and two percent of assists returning, there is opportunity for highly-touted freshmen Malik Ellison (Voorhees, N.J.), Federico Mussini (Reggio Emilia, Italy) and Yankuba Sima (Girona, Spain) to have an immediate impact.
Mullin will be joined on the sideline by an elite staff that features fellow Hall of Famer and former Golden State Warriors teammate Mitch Richmond, as well as Division I veteran Associate Head Coach Barry Rohrssen, who is fresh off a historic season and Final Four run at the University of Kentucky. St. John's alumnus and former team manager Matt Abdelmassih returned to his native New York after helping Iowa State to the winningest four-year period in program-history. Greg St. Jean has an NBA pedigree and spent the last two years with the Sacramento Kings. The youngest assistant coach in high-major college basketball, St. Jean's player development and scouting skill set will help charter the Red Storm in a new era.
Through two exhibitions, Christian Jones (Arlington, Texas) has shined, averaging a double-double with 13.0 points and 11.0 rebounds. The redshirt junior forward converted 61.5 percent of his field goal attempts and sank 10-of-13 (76.9 pct) of his free-throws in the preseason. Sima and Mussini combined to average 20.0 points in their debut against collegiate competition, while also leading the team in several statistical categories. The 6-foot-11 Sima swatted 10 shots and registered 9.0 rebounds per game. Mussini, a 6-foot-1 point guard, handed out four assists and logged a team-high 29.5 minutes per game.
Newcomers Ellison and Darien Williams (San Francisco, Calif.) each averaged 7.0 points per game in the exhibitions. Sophomore Amar Alibegovic (Rome, Italy) saw the most game action among the Red Storm returnees with 24 appearances last year. All three players figure to be in the mix when the regular-season gets underway on Friday.
St. John's contest with Wagner begins a three-game homestand in Queens. The Red Storm has won 11-straight home-openers dating back to the 2003-04 season. After hosting UMBC on Monday and Rutgers for the inaugural Gavitt Tip-Off Games next Thursday, St. John's departs for its first appearance in the 32nd annual Maui Invitational (Nov. 23-25).
About the Series with Wagner