Steve Lavin Returns as Red Storm Tips Off Season with Midnight Madness

St. John's Midnight Madness
St. John’s Red Storm held its season tip-off last night in Queens in front of a raucous crowd at Carnesecca Arena.

The excitement in the building from the 3,158 people that came out to see the 2012-2013 basketball teams introduced was electric. Master of ceremonies John Anderson of ESPN reminded fans that the last time he hosted the event, the Johnnies made it to the NCAA tourney. However talks of NCAA tournaments wasn’t the only reason why St. John’s players came out dancing.

This night marked the return of head coach Steve Lavin.

“Feeding off the players energy was an uplifting experience. It reminds you of the joy that team sports can bring.” Coach Lavin said after the event.

“You’re in that hallway, in the bowels of Carnesecca Arena, seeing those kids and how hyped they were and how happy they were, it was a palpable energy. I think our staff and myself feed off of that, it’s like shaking a present on Christmas Eve, trying to figure out what the gifts are, all those things that bring joy to young people. There can be plenty of hardship throughout a season, but tonight was about joy and celebration to tip-off our season.”

While the return of Coach Lavin may have been the feel good moment of the night, there were plenty of other highlights.

The new look Red Storm played a split squad red and white scrimmage getting students and fans excited for the start of the 2012-2013 season.

Each team had two returning players as Amir Garrett and God’sgift Achiuwa suited up for the white squad, while D’Angelo Harrison and Sir’Dominic Pointer led the red squad.

Marco Bourgault showcased his range, nailing a number of shots from beyond the arc. Chris Obekpa let everyone know that no one is safe shooting the ball when he’s in the game. The 6’8 freshman center sent one ball into the 6th row off a three point shot attempt.

After the scrimmage, Jakarr Sampson won the dunk contest as he caught a soccer alley-oop pass from teammate Orlando Sanchez. Sampson did the rest throwing down an emphatic dunk which was #4 on Sports Center Top 10.

The evening concluded with a musical performance from rap group Chiddy Bang and a ton of fans eager for November.