A New Beginning

St. John’s men’s basketball is looking toward the future. With a group of seven talented freshmen and a cast of veterans to show them the ropes, the Johnnies are hoping to make waves in the Big East this year and beyond.

Likewise, The Torch continues to evolve each year as we try to bring our readers the best coverage of St. John’s University as we can. As a result, The Torch presents this year’s annual Courtside in a completely revamped magazine edition to coincide with the basketball program’s 100th anniversary.

Our hope is to bring attention to a basketball program that has one of the most storied histories in collegiate athletics. In college basketball history, St. John’s ranks seventh in all-time victories, boasts the ninth best winning percentage, and has the 13th-most appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

In addition to the records and stats, legendary players from all over the nation have been able to call Queens home. From Mullin to Artest, St. John’s basketball has served as a springboard for gifted athletes to make a name for themselves before making the leap to the NBA, and as a place for athletes to gain valuable life experiences.

As a result of poor judgment and, in some cases, bad luck, the glory days of St. John’s basketball came to an abrupt halt shortly after the turn of the millennium. But with an honest, stand-up coach at the helm of the program, St. John’s looks to have things going in the right direction.

Some fans believe that the program is moving too slowly in getting back to success.

Not to sound too cliché, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. To get things done the honest way, a quality that Norm Roberts exemplifies, it takes time.

But will the season be a failure if St. John’s doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament?

As far as we’re concerned, absolutely not. Of course, winning is of utmost importance to the fans. But we’d rather see a group of players give 110 percent en route to a .500 record than talent-laden punks who don’t understand the concept of “student-athlete.”

And who knows, maybe this year is the year. Regardless of the youth of the team this season, one thing is clear: these guys have talent. The 2007-08 Red Storm have a certain intangible feeling to them that hasn’t been felt in years. From top to bottom, every player on the team plays with passion. Perhaps that is Roberts’ greatest accomplishment. He has gathered a group of players who play hungry. They want to win, and they want to win now.

There’s no better year to fully turn around the program than this year. Between the various ceremonies St. John’s will be hosting this season to the high expectations of the “Magnificent Seven,” as the incoming class has been called, there’d be nothing more appropriate than getting back on track.

We hope you enjoy Courtside the magazine as much as we enjoyed making it. Although the hours were long and the outcome sometimes looked uncertain, we feel that we’ve created something any St. John’s fan can enjoy. We also hope you enjoy a basketball season that is sure to be exciting and, hopefully, filled with postseason play.