St. John’s Basketball and Sheck Wes Rock Tip-Off

Nick Bello, Social Media Manager

Electricity was in the air Friday night as the university community filed into Carnesecca Arena for Tip-Off, the annual extravaganza that celebrates the start of the college basketball season.

To “tip-off” the evening’s proceedings, alumni from different generations of St. John’s basketball took the court for the annual alumni game. Following the conclusion of the game, this year’s men’s and women’s teams were introduced to the Carnesecca faithful.

The loudest roar of the night came as junior guard Shamorie Ponds was introduced after testing NBA waters this past summer. The 6 foot 1 inch junior guard from Brooklyn looks to have yet another outstanding year in a Red Storm uniform.

After redshirt senior Marvin Clark II entered the arena to the popular song “Sicko Mode” by Travis Scott, it was time for the coaches to take center stage to address the thousands of fans in the arena.

“You [the fans] give us energy,” Head Coach of the Women’s Basketball team, Joe Tartamella, said.

Tartamella then handed the mic off to senior Akina Wellere, who urged St. John’s fans to give a warm welcome to new Athletic Director Mike Cragg.

Next up was men’s head coach and St. John’s legend Chris Mullin, who made a short speech before handing the mic off to Clark.

“I know last year was a long season,” Clark II said. “We got a great group of guys here.”

Then came the long awaited red and white scrimmage, where the talent from the men’s basketball team was on full display.

The star of the show was junior college transfer L.J. Figueroa, who dazzled the crowd with three amazing dunks, including an off the backboard alley-oop to himself. Figueroa has been raved about by the coaching staff this preseason and many   have him as a starter on this year’s team.

Another player who stuck out was sophomore Bryan Trimble Jr. who lit it up from outside. Trimble proved himself last year as he earned a lot of minutes off the bench for the Red Storm.

One thing that was noticeable immediately, however, was the fact that Mustapha Heron did not participate in warm-ups or the scrimmage, despite the announcement of him being cleared by the NCAA coming later that night.

The status of his health is unknown, as no injury was reported before or after the event.

As the night drew to a close, rapper Sheck Wes, a native of Harlem, rocked Carnesecca Arena performing his hit song, “Mo Bamba” not once, but twice. Video of  Wes’ performance went viral the next day on Bleacher Report, further helping to promote the fact that big things are happening in Queens this year.