St. John's has been marketing the upcoming basketball season with the slogan "It starts now."
When the Johnnies take the floor against Division II Sonoma State in an exhibition Saturday evening, one could make an argument for or against the above claim. Does it really start now, in a game that means virtually nothing?
It depends on your school of thought. But the prevailing feeling among those who have been waiting weeks, even months, for this season to begin, is that Saturday is really the "start." The young Red Storm finally suits up and faces an external opponent, while Steve Lavin makes his official return to the sidelines.
No, the game's results will not show up in the win or loss columns. The statistics won't open the running totals that will accumulate throughout the year. No one is saying that Sonoma State is a Big East caliber match.
But this exhibition, the first of two for St. John's before the team's official opener on November 13th against Detroit, will provide Lavin and Red Storm fans everywhere a solid benchmark of where their squad stands ten days before it becomes real, before mistakes mean consequences.
We previewed the first exhibition, laying out the specific items we'll be looking out for. How will St. John's look offensively? Defensively? How are the newcomers meshing with the five returning Johnnies? Has the team returned to Steve Lavin's preferred aggressive, fast-paced style?
Not all of the questions will be answered in one 40-minute stretch. We'll be lucky if any of them are. Let's sit back, and enjoy our first look at the newest stage of the program's future.
Join in below on the Rumble's conversation in the comments section below throughout the game. Our opinions will also be floating around in the Twitterverse.
We hope that you are able to enjoy a basketball game this weekend. Our thoughts continue to be with those feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy both here in New York and all across the east coast.