QUEENS, N.Y. -
Head coach Steve Lavin and his deep and versatile St. John's basketball team (1-1) continue a run of stiff season-opening competition as the Red Storm plays host to Bucknell (2-1) of the Patriot League on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. at Carnesecca Arena.
The contest airs on FOX Sports 1 -- one of 29 nationally-televised contests in for St. John's 2013-14 -- with announcers Dick Stockton and Bill Raftery. The contest can also be viewed via FOX Sports GO on mobile devices and heard live on the official radio flagship of St. John's Basketball, Bloomberg Radio 1130-AM, and on RedStormSports.com (subscription), with veteran New York City announcers John Minko and Vin Parise.
Now in its 53rd season, St. John's is 436-82 (.842) in 518 games at Carnesecca Arena, including a 20-4 (.833) mark during the Lavin Era. The building, constructed in 1961, was re-named for St. John's Hall of Fame coach Lou Carnesecca during the 2004-05 season. The Red Storm went 7-1 in Queens in 2012-13, averaging 72.5 points per game on campus, firing at a 46.0 percent clip from the field and a 36.4 rate from 3-point range. Meanwhile, the Red Storm limited opponents to 63.6 ppg on 37.9 percent shooting and a 29.6 mark from long distance last season.
With a 1-1 record on the year, Lavin now owns a 186-107 career mark and is 41-29 as the head coach at St. John's.
St. John's and Bucknell have not squared off in more than a century. The only time the two teams met was on Feb. 10, 1912, when St. John's won 26-18.
Among The BIG EAST Leaders
Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team selection D'Angelo Harrison, who finished third in the league in scoring in 2012-13, leads the BIG EAST in scoring at 26.0 points per game. Harrison, who is 19-for-19 at the free throw line through two games, is one of four conference players with a perfect percentage though the St. John's guard has nine more attempts than the rest of the field. His 36.5 minutes per game average currently rates third among all BIG EAST players.
As a team, St. John's led all of NCAA Division I in blocked shots 2012-13 with an average of 7.3 per contest. The Red Storm has picked up where it left off last season, and currently leads the BIG EAST with an average of 6.5 per outing. Sophomore Chris Obekpa, who led the nation individually with 4.03 rejections per outing last season, currently sets the pace for the league at 2.5 bpg. Senior Orlando Sanchez is tied for seventh in the BIG EAST with 1.5 per contest, while junior Sir'Dominic Pointer and sophomore JaKarr Sampson average 1.0 each, good enough to tie for 11th.
Speaking of Sampson, the sophomore averages 17.0 ppg (T-12th in the league), 7.0 rebounds (T-ninth), 3.0 offensive boards (T-fourth) and 33.5 minutes per outing (sixth).
Sampson's .591 field goal percentage ranks 13th among all BIG EAST players and is second only to Pointer's .667 on the squad (T-fourth in the BIG EAST).
A major improvement that has come for St. John's early in 2013-14 is prowess at the free throw line. With a .780 team free throw percentage, the Red Storm currently ranks second in the BIG EAST. On that note, the Red Storm has made 46 made free throws in two games, which is seven more than St. John's opponents have attempted (39).
The Red Storm were among the nation's best teams in terms of protecting the basketball last season, and are among league leaders again early in 2013-14. St. John's is averaging only 10.5 turnovers per game and is +2.0 in turnover margin, tied for third in the BIG EAST.
Recap: St. John's 73, Wagner 57
The St. John's men's basketball team started hot, finished with authority and used a strong performance at the free throw line to salt away a 73-57 home-opening victory over Wagner on Friday night.
Junior guard D'Angelo Harrison followed up a 27-point performance against then-No. 20/21 Wisconsin with a 25-point effort against the Seahawks, finishing 7-of-16 from the field and making all 11 of his free throw attempts as part of a 29-point night for St. John's at the line (29-for-36, 80.6 percent).
Classmate Sir'Dominic Pointer totaled 10 points for the Red Storm but, per usual, came up big when the Seahawks closed within six with 3:44 to play. Six of Pointer's points came after Wagner came within eight points for the first time. Sophomore JaKarr Sampson had 13 points and seven rebounds for St. John's, which finished with a 45-34 rebound advantage. Senior Orlando Sanchez scored eight points with eight boards, sophomore Chris Obekpa swatted four shots and grabbed eight rebounds, and junior Jamal Branch scored eight in 20 minutes as a reserve.
Meanwhile, the Red Storm limited Wagner to a 35.5 percent shooting night (22-of-62) and only 22 first-half points, playing defense without fouling and sending the Seahawks to the line for only nine attempts. St. John's drilled hard on defense for a week of practice after allowing the Badgers 51 second-half points and 11 made 3-pointers seven days earlier.
Keady To Enter National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame On Sunday
A six-time National Coach of the Year, a Purdue and Big Ten luminary, and the Special Assistant/Advisor for St. John's men's basketball since 2010, legendary mentor Gene Keady will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday, Nov. 24.
Keady will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame at the Midland Theatre in Kansas City as part of a three-day celebration of college basketball. He joins joins former U.S. Congressman Tom McMillen, 1977 national consensus player of the year Marques Johnson of UCLA, Rollie Massimino of Villanova, Bob Hopkins of Grambling and contributors George Raveling of Nike and George Killian of FIBA in the Class of 2013. Additionally, the barrier-breaking 1963 Loyola University (Chicago) team will become the first team inducted.
Earlier this summer, Keady received another special honor that hit a little closer to home. Keady, born in Larned, Kan., in 1936, visited his hometown - with a population of 4,100 - for the fourth time in 30 years on June 8, 2013. As part of its annual Santa Fe Trail Days celebration, which featured an all-class Larned High School reunion, concerts, a parade and other family activities, Larned honored Keady in a ceremony officially naming Third Street, where Keady was raised by his parents, Mary Helen and Lloyd Gibson Keady, "Gene Keady Way."
One of the most respected coaches in the history of college basketball, Keady, who spent 27 seasons at the helm of the Purdue and Western Kentucky programs and won 550 NCAA Division I games - with more than 800 career wins at all levels - currently serves the Red Storm as Special Assistant/Advisor. Keady was the National Coach of the Year six times (1984, 1988, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2000) during a 25-year tenure at Purdue, where he guided the Boilers to 512 victories and six Big Ten championships (1984, 1987, 1988, 1994, 1995 and 1996), including three-straight crowns from 1994-96.
Lavin: One Branch On Big Ten Legend Keady's Coaching Tree
Big Ten legend-now-turned St. John's special assistant/advisor Gene Keady was a decorated head coach at Purdue University for 25 seasons, from 1980-2005. He led the Boilermakers to six conference titles and 17 NCAA Tournament appearances, including two Elite Eights, tallying 512 wins with the Boilermakers. He has mentored a number of assistant coaches who are currently enjoying success as head coaches around the college basketball landscape.
In his first three years, former pupil and current St. John's head coach Steve Lavin went 40-28 overall, and 20-14 in the BIG EAST Conference, and all told, each of Keady's 10 former assistants-now-turned-active-head-coaches have had incredible success. In 2012-13 Lavin, Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt), Matt Painter (Purdue), Cuonzo Martin (Tennessee), Bruce Weber (Kansas State), Linc Darner (Florida Southern), Alan Major (Charlotte), Paul Lusk (Missouri State), Austin Parkinson (IUPUI-women) and Carson Cunningham (Carroll College) combined for a record of 173 wins, 153 losses (.531).
So far in 2013-14, Lavin is 1-1, Stallings is 2-0, Painter is 3-0, Martin is 1-1, Weber is 2-1, Darner is 3-0, Major is 2-1, Lusk is 2-0, Parkinson is 2-1, and Cunningham is 3-3, for a combined record of 21-17 (.553).
Six of Keady's 10 former assistants were selected to the 2013 postseason, with Lavin, Martin and Major earning top-five seeds in the 2013 NIT Championship, Weber earning a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Division I Championship, Darner earning a No. 1 seed in the South Regional Tournament of NCAA Division II Championship and Parkinson earning a postseason bid in the WNIT.
Lavin was an assistant coach under Keady from 1988-91. After serving as head coach at UCLA for seven seasons, Lavin returned to coach St. John's in 2010-11 and has led the Red Storm back into the national spotlight.
Weber served under Keady as an assistant at Purdue for 18 seasons. Painter was a player for Keady from 1989-93, starting 50 games for Purdue in his career. Stallings was an assistant under Keady for six seasons from 1982 to 1988; he also played at Purdue for three seasons, two of them under Keady. Martin, now the head coach at Tennessee, was an assistant coach for Keady and Painter at his alma mater from 2000-08 at Purdue. Darner played for Keady with teammates Painter and Martin from 1991-94, while Major graduated from Purdue in 1992 after serving as a student manager under Keady. Lusk served as an assistant coach for Keady at Purdue in 2004-05. Parkinson played for Keady from 2000-04, finishing 10th on the all-time assist list. Cunningham played for Keady from 1997-2000, becoming only the third player in Purdue history to be named a two-time Academic All-American.
Bucknell comes into Tuesday's game with a 2-1 record after defeating its last two opponents. The Bison topped Penn State, 90-80, on Nov. 13 and picked up a 72-50 win over St. Francis (Pa.) in their home opener on Saturday, Nov. 16.
Bucknell was selected to finish fourth in the Patriot League, following Boston University, Lafayette and Army. The Bison are led by a two-time Preseason All-Patriot League selection in senior Cameron Ayers who was enters his season campaign with 1,065 career points, which ranks 31st on Bucknell's career list.
The Bison finished the 2012-13 season with a 28-6 record and a trip to their sixth NCAA Tournament after claiming the Patriot League Championship with a 64-56 win over Lafayette on March 13. Statistically, the Bison ended the 2012-13 season fourth in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (37.7), third in turnovers per game (9.4), seventh in assist turnover ratio (1.42) and eighth in won-lost percentage (82.4).
Bucknell is entering the 2013-14 season after losing Bryson Johnson, Mike Muscala, Joe Willman and Colin Klebon who graduated last May as the winningest class in school history. Muscala (2,036), Johnson (1,384) and Willman (1,162) combined for 4,582 career points, and that trio accounted for over 60 percent of Bucknell's total points last year.
Head coach Dave Paulsen enters his sixth season with Bucknell after leading the Bison through one of the greatest three-year stretches in the history of the program. Under his tenure, the Bison have combined for a 101-66 record, including three-consecutive Patriot League regular season titles, a pair of Patriot League Championship titles, two trips to the NCAA Tournament and a second round appearance in the 2012 NIT.
League-Best Four St. John's Players Earn Preseason All-BIG EAST Honors
St. John's earned a league-best four BIG EAST Preseason honors, including a Preseason First Team selection for junior guard D'Angelo Harrison and Preseason Rookie of the Year accolades for freshman guard Rysheed Jordan. Sophomore forward JaKarr Sampson, the reigning BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, earned Preseason Second Team honors and classmate Chris Obekpa was a Preseason Honorable Mention.
Harrison ranked third among all BIG EAST players last season with 17.8 points per game, while Sampson led all BIG EAST freshman in both scoring (14.9 ppg, T-11th overall) and rebounding (6.6 rpg, 11th overall). A BIG EAST All-Rookie selection, Obekpa led the nation with 4.03 blocks per game and established a new single-season St. John's and BIG EAST freshman mark with 133 rejections. Ranked 17th nationally in the 2013 ESPN 100, Jordan represents the highest-rated rookie prospect in the BIG EAST this season.
With a roster that returns 91.6 percent of its scoring and 88.3 percent of its rebounding from a season ago, St. John's earned two first place votes and was picked fifth in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches Poll with 56 points. Defending regular season champion Marquette (74 points) earned five first place votes and finished atop the poll, while Georgetown (70) had two first place votes and was picked second. Creighton (61), which earned one first place vote, and Villanova (58) rounded out the top four spots.
Red Storm Tickets, Red White Club Information
St. John's Season Tickets are now available. 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.
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.
Non-conference action continues with two more contests at Carnesecca Arena. Following the tilt with 2013 NCAA participant Bucknell (Nov. 19), the Red Storm opens play with two on-campus games as part of the Barclays Center Classic presented by Continental Tire.
Monmouth comes to Queens on Friday, Nov. 22 followed by Longwood on Tuesday, Nov. 26, prior to St. John's second appearance in two seasons at the new Brooklyn Barclays Center during the fall semester.