Dec. 17, 2007
Hawaiian Fact of the Day: Waikiki is the world famous tourist district of Honolulu, located between the Ala Wai Canal and the Pacific Ocean next to Diamond Head volcano. Numerous hotels, shops, and nightlife opportunities are located along Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenues. World-famous Waikiki Beach attracts millions of visitors a year. Just west of Waikiki is Ala Moana Center, the world's largest open-air shopping center. A majority of the hotel rooms on Oahu are located in Waikiki.
HONOLULU - The Red Storm basketball team was all business, then all pleasure on Day 2 of their trip to Hawaii for the 44th Annual Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic. The St. John's players worked through an intense practice session at the University of Hawaii on Monday morning, earning an afternoon of fun in the sun later in the day.
Following a hearty breakfast at the hotel, the Red Storm basketball players and coaches boarded their team bus and took a short trip to the home of the UH Rainbow Warriors. After a spirited two-hour workout at one of the University's auxiliary gyms, the squad headed back to the hotel for lunch and a well-deserved afternoon of free time.
Many of the St. John's players hit the Waikiki beachfront, with scenic Diamond Head volcano as the backdrop, soft sand and the gentle December waves of Oahu's South Shore. The Red Storm players took in the sun and surf, saw a host of kayakers and catamaraners, and interacted with vacationers and locals alike, many of whom stopped for photo opportunities.
A few of the braver St. John's players temporarily formed a Red Storm biker gang... well, only if mopeds qualify. Many Hawaiian tourists were left speechless at the sight of near seven-foot basketball players puttering down the streets of Waikiki, but fans needent worry - each member of the "Red Storm's Angels" managed to escape from their foray into mopedding unscathed.
With the entire travel party back together for the evening, the group walked to a team dinner, where freshmen Malik Boothe and Justin Burrell outdueled a street performer with their dazzling array of dance moves. The squad enjoyed a meal on the deck of a local restaurant overlooking the ocean. The relaxing scene was set by blazing tiki torches and a live band's rendition of several traditional Christmas carols, but with a Hawaiian twang to them, of course.
The team then returned to the hotel to wind down for the night, and prepare for a visit to Pearl Harbor on Tuesday morning.
St. John's (4-2) faces the Ohio Bobcats (6-3) on Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 5 p.m. HST (10 p.m. EST). Anthony Mason Jr., who has missed five games in the 2007-08 season with a high ankle sprain, as well as now-eligible redshirt freshman Rob Thomas, are both expected to play in the Rainbow Classic opener.
Live streaming audio of St. John's Rainbow Classic games, along with daily postcards, photo galleries, journal entries and game reports, will be available online at RedStormSports.com's "Aloha From Hawaii" page.