St. John’s Storm Fest

More than 1,600 people showed up for Thursday’s Storm Fest ’06, a Red Storm Basketball season preview event, and enjoyed prizes, games, music, free food, and an intrasquad scrimmage between members of the St. John’s University Men’s basketball team.

The event started at 6 p.m. outside of Carnesecca Arena; as cotton candy, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and other foods were served under a big white tent. Music, courtesy of St. John’s own DJ Zeke, filled the air and two erected basketball hoops allowed people to get some games in before the crowd was let into the arena at about 7:30.

Once people were inside, the St. John’s University dance team performed. Then, Brandon Tierney, who is the co-voice of Red Storm basketball and an ESPN radio personality, was introduced. “This is the first year that I’m beginning to expect to win some games,” Tierney said.

After Tierney, ESPN’s Howie Schwab, St. John’s alum, came on the court. Throughout the night, Schwab gave out prizes to students who answered his sports questions correctly, including a few about St. John’s men’s basketball trivia. There was also a game of musical chairs where, at one point, two students battled ferociously for the last chair. The prizes included were Nike prize packs, an iPod, season tickets to SJU basketball games, and free parking for the whole semester.

After the St. John’s pep band came out and threw t-shirts into the crowd, the lights were turned off as the video board began showing highlights of the women’s basketball team. The crowd cheered very loudly at the end.

Then, right afterward, the women’s basketball team, as well as other personnel involved with team, was individually introduced; each to loud cheers. Kim Barnes Arico, the Big East Coach of the Year, received the greatest ovation. She addressed the fans and thanked them for supporting the team last year. Then, she and some of the players brought out her 5-year old son, Trevor, as he danced to the song “Chicken Noodle Soup” with star forward Angela Clark.

A three-point shootout came after that, with teams made up of one member of the men’s basketball team, one from the women’s, and a fan. Larry Wright and Tiina Sten’s team won.

Before members of the men’s team were introduced, highlights from last season were played on the video board. Head coach Norm Roberts received one of the loudest ovations of the night. Roberts then addressed the fans and asked for their continued support.

At about 8:53, the 15-minute scrimmage began. Early on, forward Anthony Mason Jr., who played for the Red team, had a monster one-handed dunk. Daryll Hill, who was on the Black team, dished out fancy passes and moved very well, showing that he had healed from last season’s knee injury. Hill was dribbling very well, penetrating, and creating scoring opportunities.

Hill said he doesn’t have any pain in his knee. “I feel good,” he said after the game. Hill scored 5 points in the scrimmage. He also talked about the difference between last year and this year.

“We’ve got more depth,” Hill said. “We got a lot of players that can do different things. Last year, we didn’t have that many players, so we are more of a deeper team.”
Roberts talked about what he expects from Hill this season. “Leadership, do what he normally does, scoring ability, being able to create for others, make others better,” he said. “Daryll is very good at doing those things.”

Guard Eugene Lawrence’s buzzer-beating three-pointer for the Red team ended the game with the score tied at 51.

“Obviously, we want to win the Big East championship,” Roberts said. “We want to win an NCAA championship, and we want to be the best we can be, but what we try to do is get better every day and we just try to improve every day as a team, as individuals, and if we can do those things, then we will get better as a team.”