St. John’s Opens Carnesecca to Fans for First Time Since Pandemic

TORCH PHOTO / Brendan Willsch

TORCH PHOTO / Brendan Willsch

RedZone, the St. John’s University student section, and the athletic department held an open practice for fully-vaccinated students on Saturday, Oct. 16 at Carnesecca Arena. For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, students were able to retake the stands to watch Queens basketball. 

The first half of the practice was led by RedZone, who led the students through the cheers and chants that the student section performs throughout team games. Event sponsors Blaze Pizza and Qdoba Mexican Eats provided complimentary food for all in attendance. 

The Men’s Basketball team took the court roughly an hour into the open practice. The team of newcomers ran through warmups, shoot-arounds and drills for the home crowd. The reigning Big East leading scorer Julian Champagnie appeared limited in practice, which head coach Mike Anderson confirmed at Big East Media Day on Tuesday, Oct. 19. Anderson says Champagnie is now practicing without restrictions as the team prepares for the start of the season in two-plus weeks. 

Anderson personally addressed the students in attendance at the open practice, saying “You guys are worth 8-10 points, just your presence here when you show up and show out.” 

“I want this place packed,” Anderson continued. “If there’s a thousand tickets available to students, I want two thousand [here].” 

Students were required to scan a QR code with the St. John’s University Connect app in order to enter the arena, which verified both current enrollment and vaccination status. It was announced at the event that this process would remain for all games at Carnesecca Arena. The University is currently exploring the process of making all student tickets digitally available. 

The athletic department’s preseason festivities continue on Friday, Oct. 22 with the 2021-22 Season Tip-Off, headlined by Fivio Foreign.