Photo courtesy of Dave’s Joint.
By David Cordova
Every year during the fall, there’s a feeling in the air that comes with joy when the basketball season is about to start. Season tickets are being sold, fans are in a frenzy, waiting for the games to take place. But before that starts, there’s one opportunity for the general public to see players in action.
That opportunity is none other than a Midnight Madness-like event. In the Jamaica section of Queens, New York, that was the case at St. John’s University on the evening of Oct. 21st, during the school’s Homecoming weekend. There’s nothing like some good action at Carnesecca Arena on a Friday night.
On this night, both the men’s and women’s teams were introduced prior to the 2022-23 season before a few thousand spectators. It was, as many say, a lituation. On the women’s side, they were introduced to their new players, such as Skye Owen, a 5-foot-7 guard out of Staten Island, who was a McDonald’s All-American nominee who played her high school ball at St. Francis Prep, which is over 2 miles away in Fresh Meadows. Also introduced was Milicia “Mimi” Reid, a graduate student who stands at 5-foot-8 and is a native of The Bronx who recently graduated from Ole Miss.
Returning from last season’s Red Storm squad is 6-foot redshirt senior guard Kadaja Bailey (14.2 points per game), 5-foot-7 senior guard Unique Drake (9.1 points per game), 6-foot-3 redshirt senior Rayven Peeples (8.8 points & 9.6 rebounds per game), 6-foot-2 guard/forward and graduate student Danielle Patterson (8.2 points per game) and 6-foot-4 forward and graduate student Danielle Cosgrove (7.5 points per game). This year’s team looks to improve on their 11-16 record from last season under Joe Tartamella, who is now in his 11th season as head coach of the Red Storm.
On the men’s side, there was plenty to be excited about as Red Storm fans got their glimpse at a couple of sensational freshmen in 6-foot-6 guard A.J. Storr, 6-foot-2 guard Kolby King and 7-foot-1 center Mohamed Keita. Two impact transfers worth watching this season is 6-foot-1 guard Andre Curbelo, who transferred from Illinois, and 6-foot-6 forward David Jones, who transferred in from Big East foe, DePaul.
Returning from last season’s 17-15 squad is 6-foot junior guard Posh Alexander (13.8 points per game), 6-foot-4 junior guard Dylan-Addae Wusu (8.5 points per game), 6-foot-4 redshirt senior guard Montez Mathis (8.2 points per game) and 6-foot-11 senior forward Joel Soriano (6.4 points per game). In head coach Mike Anderson’s fourth season at the helm, there’s a chance that the Red Storm may go far. But time will tell.
Aside from the player intros and the scrimmages, there was great entertainment on the mic from the two emcees, Chuck Lott and Denise Gonzalez, both of whom can be found at the Red Storm’s home games this season at either Carnesecca Arena and Madison Square Garden, where the men’s team will have four home games during conference play against Villanova (Jan. 20th), Georgetown (Jan. 29th), Providence (Feb. 11th) and UConn (Feb. 25th). The women’s team will be hosting UConn at the UBS Arena in Elmont, Long Island, which is over 7 miles away from St. John’s campus, on Jan. 11th.
To cap the night, there was a performance by Los Angeles-born rapper, Blxst, who is recently coming off the release of his debut album, “Before You Go,” which came out on April 22nd.
All in all, it was a great Friday night on Utopia Parkway. Both teams will begin their season this coming Monday, Nov. 7th, at Carnesecca Arena with their respective games, with the women’s team playing against Monmouth at 1 PM and the men’s team playing against Merrimack. Look out for both squads this season.