The 116th season of St. John’s Men’s Basketball will officially kick off on Monday when the Red Storm welcomes Merrimack to Queens.
Tip-off from Carnesecca Arena is set for 6:45 p.m. For the second straight year, FS1 will air BIG EAST Opening Night Tip-Off with live look-ins at the eight games featuring BIG EAST teams on Monday night. Fans looking to watch the St. John’s game in its entirety with Pat O’Keefe and Tarik Turner on the call can do so on the FOX Sports app or by clicking here.
An audio broadcast of the game on the LEARFIELD Red Storm Sports Network with John Minko and Brandon Tierney will also be available on a variety of platforms including the Varsity Network App, TuneIn Radio, RedStormSports.com and the St. John’s Red Storm mobile app.
Tickets to the contest are still available. The first 2,500 fans in the door will receive a free St. John’s sweatshit courtesy of Apple Bank.
St. John’s begins its fourth season under the direction of Head Coach Mike Anderson, who enters the campaign with a career record of 419-241 (.635). In his 21st season as a head coach, Anderson is one of only three active Division I head men to coach 20 more years and never suffer a losing campaign alongside Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Gonzaga’s Mark Few.
The Red Storm, which went 17-15 a year ago, was predicted to finish in sixth in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches Poll released last month. Posh Alexander garnered preseason recognition from the league’s coaches, earning a spot on the Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team. As a sophomore in 2021-22, Alexander ranked second on the team and 11th in the league in scoring with 13.8 points per game. He also finished second in the league and 19th nationally with 5.5 assists while leading the conference and ranking 11th in Divisoin I with 2.3 steals per contest.
Alexander leads a strong core of veteran returners, as the Johnnies are set to welcome back four of their top six scorers from a year ago. Dylan Addae-Wusu, Alexander’s high school teammate at Our Saviour Lutheran in the Bronx, averaged 8.5 points per outing while also ranking second on the team and ninth in the conference with 3.9 assists per contest. A fifth year senior who spent three years at Rutgers, Montez Mathis averaged 8.2 points per game last season is just 13 points away from 1,000 for his career. Joel Soriano impressed during his debut campaign with the Red Storm, averaging 6.4 points and 5.5 rebounds to go along with a team-high 1.7 blocks per game.
The Johnnies will also look to receive contributions from five scholarship newcomers. St. John’s was one of the undisputed winners of the transfer portal this past summer, losing no scholarship players and adding two proven high-major talents. Andre Curbelo joins the Red Storm after two seasons at Illinois, where he was the 2021 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year and earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. He averaged 9.1 points, 4.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds as a freshman, helping the Illini win the Big Ten Tournament and earn a no. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. David Jones comes to Queens following two years at DePaul, where he ranked second on the team and ninth in the BIG EAST in scoring last season with 14.5 points per game. He scored 20 or more points seven times and recorded five double-doubles, including the first triple-double in DePaul history last season in a win over Georgetown.
In addition to Curbelo and Jones, St. John’s is set to welcome three scholarship freshmen to the team in 2022-23. AJ Storr, the no. 84 recruit in the ESPN Top 100, comes to Queens as the program’s highest rated high school recruit since Shamorie Ponds in 2016. Last year as a postgrad at IMG Academy, he earned team MVP honors after averaging 22.8 points per game and shooting 60 percent from the floor. Kolby King, a three-star recruit out of Pembroke Pines, Fla., joins the Johnnies after leading Pembroke Pines Charter to a 2021 Class 5A State Championship and leading the Under Armour grassroots circuit in scoring that following summer. A 7-foot-1 rim protector from Guinea, Mohamed Keita arrives in Queens boasting plenty of international experience, playing for Guinea in the 2020 FIBA U18 African Championship and competing in the NBA’s Basketball Africa League this past spring.
Merrimack enters 2022-23 as the preseason favorite in the NEC, garnering six of the conference’s nine first-place votes. Last year, the Warriors finished fourth in the league with a 10-8 record in conference and a 14-16 mark overall.
Jordan Minor, a Preseason All-NEC Team selection, led the Warriors with 15.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game as a junior in 2021-22. He topped the conference with 13 doubles and finished second in the league in both rebounding and blocks (2.4).
Another senior, Ziggy Reid, is the team’s only other returning double figure scorer, as the Baltimore native averaged 11.0 points per game a season ago.
St. John’s and Merrimack will meet for the first time in the history of the two programs on Monday. The Warriors are entering their fourth season of Division play in 2022-23.
The Red Storm is 117-18 all-time against current members of the NEC.
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