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Sights, sounds & reflections on Red Storm Tip-Off

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NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at St. John Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The point of an event like Red Storm Tip-Off is to hype up the fans for the coming season. And by that criteria, Friday’s Red Storm Tip-Off did not disappoint, with 20 recruits in attendance and a crowd that hit frenzied highs.

St. John’s annual Red Storm Tip-Off was held last night at Carnesecca Arena to a sold-out crowd, introducing each men’s and women’s basketball player. Each introduction alternated between the male and female players, most of whom performed a dance set to hip-hop music. The coaching staffs for both teams were then introduced, with men’s coach Chris Mullin predictably getting the most applause from the audience.

The loudest ovation of the night, however, did not go to any player or coach. Rather, the crowd cheered the loudest for St. John’s graduate and rapper J. Cole, who sauntered in with his entourage after all the player/coach intros had concluded. Famous for songs like ‘Work Out’ and ‘No More Role Modelz’, J. Cole’s appearance clearly was not announced beforehand, hence the frenzied reaction from the St. John’s students.

Once the J. Cole hysteria settled down, the men’s team split into two sides and played a scrimmage against each other. Throughout the 16-minute scrimmage, freshman Shamorie Ponds and sophomore Federico Mussini stood out the most on the court. Sophomore Malik Ellison was unable to play due to injury.

More of the sights and sounds of tip-off:

After the exhibition scrimmage, Brooklyn-based rapper Desiigner performed for the crowd. Most famous for his single ‘Panda’, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 earlier this year, Desiigner sent the students home happy - along with Shamorie Ponds, who danced next to the 19-year old rapper.

Overall, the students clearly were most thrilled to see one of their own who made it big in attendance at the tip-off, and the event itself was very successful.