This Friday, St. John's hosts the Red Storm Tip Off, an event featuring the men's and women's teams, a dunk contest, and scrimmages. Not only is it the beginning of the season, but it's free; and hosted by ESPN Sports Center anchor John Anderson, with possible musical guests along with the DJ... and recruits galore (including 2013 guard Jaren Sina), as Steve Lavin kicks off his inaugural campaign as head of the men's basketball team, and while Kim Barnes-Arico continues to coach the St. John's women to elite status (not hyperbole. They're a top-20, maybe top-10 team).
Some fellow named Ron Browz (who produced Nas' "Ether") will be performing on Friday. This "Pop Champagne" (video) is solid after the first 45 seconds. Except it sounds like strip club music.
ESPN announcer and resident "tell-it-like-it-is" radio host Doug Gottlieb will cover St. John's for ESPN U's live (starting at 9 PM eastern time) look-in on various programs. It's a real coup to get the Red Storm on television; hopefully there's an excellent turnout, and the recruits can see just how big things can get. There have been lots of profiles (like this one by the inestimable Dana O'Neil) on Lavin and the rebuilding job in New York, and the interest in St. John's basketball is swelling.
Speaking of recruits... after the jump>>
Amir Garrett, the athletic forward who is now at Nevada's Findlay Prep, said (on Twitter) that he had decided on his college but is keeping it tight-lipped. Rumor had him considering Oregon and St. John's, and then dropping Oregon, but no commit has been forthcoming. Amir seems like an intelligent guy, and if you can take some highlights, an all-star high school game, and some other game tape as an indicator, this blog would love to see him at St. John's.
During the Elite 24 game in Venice Beach earlier this summer, Garrett was straight up playing defense. Slowing the progress of the ball, contesting shots. That doesn't happen in those kinds of games... I love that kind of intensity.
Video on Garrett.
Rumor has it that he will come to St. John's Red Storm Tip-Off. Funny, he had also been listed as possibly coming to Marquette Madness. Being that he will announce on Thursday, chances are he'll go to the tip-off event that corresponds with the school he's going to. Oklahoma State and Baylor are also involved. For what it's worth, Brandon Tierney of MSG Sports seems to think Harrison is a St. John's lean (via Twitter).
Today, from NBE Report, as Steve Lavin goes to pay an in-home visit to the sweet-shooting combo guard:
According to NBE’s source, St. John’s has a "strong chance" in this recruiting battle and are selling Harrison and the people close to him a comprehensive list of advantages in coming to New York City for his college career. These advantages include playing in the Big Apple with Madison Square Garden as the home court in the Big East, coach Lavin’s track record of putting players in the NBA and a staff with three former NBA assistants working under the new Red Storm head coach.
Video on Harrison.
Scoring point guard Nuri Lindsey has had a circuitous route back toward basketball, with the deaths of his brother, poverty, and personal issues with dedication derailing him from a once-promising path as a high-scoring guard out of Philadelphia. The full details are tragic and well-detailed in the New York Times piece.
God's Gift Achiuwa
In the last week of September, Steve Lavin and assistant coach Tony Chiles went to Erie Community College to check in on God's Gift Achiuwa, the big forward with the interesting name (covered earlier this summer by Zagsblog). He says he won't commit until the spring, and is also considering Ohio State, Cincinnati, N.C. State, Marquette, Hawaii and Niagara.
St. John's commit Maurice Harkless scored 45 points (supposedly in 3 quarters) at an IS-8 fall league game. The competition there is good - like a New York City area all-star league - so that bodes well. Here's hoping Mo Harkless, Forest Hills' own, keeps that scoring touch hot up at South Kent Prep. For more on his adjustment, see this SNY piece, New York players adjust to prep school.
In other news...
- Anthony Mason Jr. has been waived after some decent preseason performances with the Miami Heat.
- St. John's will be sharing Madison Square Garden on February 10th. They'll play the Connecticut Huskies, and afterwards, the Albany Great Danes and Boston University Terriers will take the court for an America East dogfight.
- Tyler Harris, forward from Long Island, will visit on October 29th and 30th.
- Times and TV information for all St. John's games have been announced.