St. John’s Makes Return to the 2K Sports Classic and MSG
By Peter Long
Steve Lavin’s first season at the helm of the Red Storm was a memorable one, but maybe what was even more memorable was the 7-1 record at Madison Square Garden.
Lavin’s team turned The World’s Most Famous Arena into a legitimate home court threat for opposing teams which provoked the upsets over a slew of marquee opponents, including the eventual National Champion UConn Huskies.
Will the Johnnies have a home-court advantage when they face the Arizona Wildcats in the 2K Sports Classic? We’ll have to see. Junior guards Malik Stith and Jamal White are the only returning players from last year’s team so the guys who suit up in the red and white on Nov. 17th will be neophytes when it comes playing at Madison Square Garden.
One of those neophytes will be freshman shooting guard Phil Greene.
“It’s going to be a little nerve-racking,” the Chicago native said. “But once you get out there and start playing it’ll be alright because I’m in the mecca of basketball, it’s going to be a great experience.”
One advantage that the newcomers will posses when they take the floor is mystique. St. John’s tradition has been embedded in the hardwood of The Garden so the Red Storm will undoubtedly have a whole arena behind them. Take this into consideration:
The NIT Championships in 1943, ’44, ’59, ’65, and ’89, and the Big East Tournament titles in 1983, ’86, and 2000 have all been claimed by St. John’s and they have all taken place at Madison Square Garden. The Johnnies also are making their fourth 2K Sports Classic appearance (2000, 2003, and 2006), all at MSG. Throw in last season’s success at The Garden and you have a pretty impressive resume at one of the most famous basketball arenas in the world.
Taking the floor at MSG will be extremely special for freshman forward Moe Harkless, a Forest Hills, Queens, native and the first big New York City recruit of the Steve Lavin-era.
“It’s going to be really exciting,” said Harkless. “Being from here and playing for my city is a great opportunity and I can’t wait.”
This will be the 81st season of St. John’s basketball at Madison Square Garden and the two have shared a beautiful relationship that comprise some of the greatest wins in the history of the university. A 2K Sports Classic title would only add to the already impressive list.
Tickets for the Championship Rounds of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coach vs. Cancer at Madison Square Garden can be purchased by calling 866-448-7849 or at ticketmaster.com.