The 2002-2003 season will feature a little of the old and a little of the new for the St. Johns University mens basketball team, as the schedule, released last week, features a host of local opponents and a few surprises.
The season will kick off Tuesday, Nov. 26, against the Stony Brook Seawolves at Alumni Hall following two exhibition games and continue with four consecutive games against area opponents, including Fairfield, Fordham, St. Francis and Hofstra.
But it is the addition of two non-conference games against perennial powers Wake Forest (Dec. 21) and UCLA (Jan. 11), and a possible matchup with North Carolina at the annual Holiday Festival, at Madison Square Garden (Dec. 28) which has bolstered the SJU schedule.
Adding UCLA with Duke and Wake Forest gives us one of the best non-conference schedules in the country, said head coach Mike Jarvis. And theres a possibility we could play North Carolina in the Holiday Festival. The Big East will give us another difficult challenge and we have kept our local rivalries intact. Thats the reason players come to St. Johns. We play the best because we want to be the best.
St. Johns also will face national powerhouse Duke in a non-conference game on Sunday, March 2, at MSG. The two teams have hooked in each of the past four seasons, with the Blue Devils winning three of four.
In Big East action, St. Johns will face the usual cast of characters, opening the conference slate on Jan. 4 against Seton Hall at MSG. The Red Storm also will play Providence, Villanova, Georgetown, Virginia Tech, Connecticut, Miami, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Syracuse and Rutgers. The only Big East teams St. Johns will not face during the season are Notre Dame and West Virginia.
We have always prided ourselves on playing the top competition in college basketball and this could be our best schedule in recent years, said David Wegrzyn, vice president for University Development and Athletics. I look forward to another successful season in the Big East and the NCAA Tournament.
Nine of the Red Storms games will be televised nationally, including two on CBS against Connecticut and Duke.
This will be Jarvis fifth season leading the Red Storm, bringing a record of 87-44 (.664 winning percentage) at SJU and a mark of 340-185 (.648 winning percentage) overall in 17 seasons in the collegiate ranks into this year.
Senior Marcus Hatten returns with All-American credentials named as a pre-season Wooden Award Finalist for Player of the Year honors while leading the Red Storm in scoring (20.1), assists (4.5) and steals (3.3) last season.
He will be joined by McDonalds All-American freshman point guard Elijah Ingram (St. Anthonys, N.J.), power forward Anthony Glover (graduate student), sophomore Eric King and juniors Willie Shaw and Kyle Cuffe.
Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.
©2002 Community News Group
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