Excitement dripped from everyone inside Carnesecca Arena for Storm Fest ’06 last Thursday night. No one showed it more than Brandon Tierney. The voice of the Red Storm men’s basketball team on ESPN Radio was fired up from his introduction as the host of the official kickoff to the men’s and women’s basketball seasons.
The 1,300 St. John’s students who swiped themselves into Carnesecca Arena were the focal point of the night. “It’s not just about having a good product on the floor, it’s about having the students feel they are a part of something special,” Tierney said.
Fans had the opportunity to win prizes in games like musical chairs, sports trivia with St. John’s alum and famed ESPN statistician Howie Schwab, and a three-point shooting contest with the players. The highlight of the evening was a dunk-filled intra-squad scrimmage that showcased the talents of sophomore Anthony Mason, Jr., junior Eugene Lawrence, and seniors Lamont Hamilton and Daryll Hill.
Tierney, or BT as he is called on the radio, has been announcing St. John’s games for four seasons but, having grown up in Brooklyn, he has been a fan of the team his whole life. Throughout the night, Tierney talked about the team that St. John’s used to be, and how getting back to that powerhouse level was the ultimate goal. But, he confessed that this wasn’t the year that was going to happen.
“Realistically this is not really the team yet,” Tierney said. “It’s just not an Elite Eight or Final Four-type team. But don’t get me wrong, this is a good team and they could do some damage in the NIT or maybe sneak in the back door of the NCAA tournament.”
Head coach Norm Roberts enters his third season on the bench for the Red Storm. Tierney credits Roberts’ success to his spirit and his ability to pass that spirit on to his players.
“Norm came into a tough situation,” Tierney said. “He had the job of trying to convince [high school] players that St. John’s was a top destination again.”
It can be argued that Roberts has already accomplished just that. The freshman class this year is probably the best in a long time. Just ask Tierney.
“I know that they are all good,” he said. “Between [Derwin] Kitchen, [Avery] Patterson, [Larry] Wright, and [Qa’rraan] Calhoun, they are all on the national radar.”
The Red Storm kick off their season in an exhibition against St. Thomas Aquinas on Nov. 4 in Carnesecca Arena.