St. John’s will face Grand Canyon University in Arizona next season, as previously announced.
Now we know more details of the Valley of the Sun shootout: the Tuesday, December 5th game will be a late one, starting at 11:30 PM eastern time at Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix, home of the NBA Phoenix Suns. St. John’s will be the second game of the doubleheader. Take an afternoon nap and plan to be at work or class a little late.
The first matchup will be Arizona playing Texas A&M. (It’s like bringing the preseason 2K Classic from 2011 back together, sans Mississippi State.)
Grand Canyon University Antelopes, coached by former NBA star Dan Majerle, have won 27 and 22 games, respectively, in the last two years while transitioning to full Division I status.
Next year will be their first year of eligibility for postseason play. They return a number of talented players and bring in some future stars, including a pair of 6’10” big men from Europe who should be physical immediately.
"We are very excited for the opportunity to play St. John's at Talking Stick Resort Arena," said Majerle in a press release. "Chris Mullin and I go way back and I look forward to seeing our two teams compete as a part of this event. It will be a great experience for our kids to play where the Suns play, and it will be special for me as I have so many great memories in that building."
St. John’s returns star guards Shamorie Ponds and Marcus LoVett, plus forward Bashir Ahmed to a scoring core. The team will need improved defense and greater contributions from veterans Tariq Owens, Amar Alibegovic and Kassoum Yakwe plus impact performances from transfer newcomers Marvin Clark and Justin Simon - and hopefully contributions from freshmen Sidney Wilson and Bryan Trimble.
For details on how to purchase tickets and hotel rooms, see the event website.