An ambitious nonconference schedule awaits Chris Mullin, who begins his head coaching career on November 13 when St. John's hosts Wagner. (Photo courtesy of the New York Daily News)
Hours after signing the ninth player in a productive offseason, Chris Mullin can now get to work on preparing his St. John's team for what lies ahead, as the Red Storm released its nonconference schedule late Monday afternoon.
"We are going to be tested early and often," said Mullin, who will lead his alma mater into battle at five different venues before Big East play, including a trip to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational. "Our guys are going to be challenged going up against a variety of programs that play different styles of basketball. Regardless of the opponent, we will be consistent with our work ethic and preparation for each game."
As is customary at St. John's, the slate begins with a pair of exhibition games at Carnesecca Arena, first against St. Thomas Aquinas; against whom the Red Storm played in a similar contest last year, on November 4 before Sonoma State comes to Queens on November 7. The first official game of Mullin's tenure occurs on Friday, November 13, when Wagner comes across the Verrazano Bridge to Carnesecca to meet St. John's for the third time in six seasons.
The Red Storm remain on campus for their next two games, taking on UMBC (November 16) in a Maui Invitational preliminary affair and Rutgers (November 19) in the inaugural Gavitt Tipoff Games, before flying to Hawaii to participate in the Maui Invitational for the first time. Upon arriving on the island, St. John's meets Vanderbilt in the first round on November 23, with either Indiana or Wake Forest waiting in the wings the following day in the middle of a three-game stint that concludes on November 25 versus an opponent to be determined.
St. John's lone true road game in the non-league portion of the season comes at Rose Hill Gymnasium on December 2 against local rival Fordham. It will be the first visit to the Bronx for the Red Storm since December 11, 2010, when Fordham overcame a 21-point second-half deficit en route to an 84-81 win that saw the Rams' fan base rush the court after playing to a capacity crowd. Next up for the former Redmen is their 2015-16 Madison Square Garden debut, which takes place in the Holiday Festival on December 6 against St. Francis Brooklyn and head coach Glenn Braica, a one-time St. John's assistant.
Three of the next four tilts are on campus, beginning with Niagara, (December 9) and also including Incarnate Word (December 18) and NJIT on December 20. The one exception in this stretch is a December 13 skirmish with Syracuse at Madison Square Garden in the renewal of one of the greatest rivalries in Big East history. The Red Storm conclude the nonconference ledger with a neutral site contest against South Carolina in the Hall of Fame Shootout on December 22 at the Mohegan Sun Arena. All tip times are to be determined.
2015-16 St. John's Red Storm Nonconference Schedule
Wednesday, November 4: vs. St. Thomas Aquinas (exhibition, Carnesecca Arena)
Saturday, November 7: vs. Sonoma State (exhibition, Carnesecca Arena)
Friday, November 13: vs. Wagner (Carnesecca Arena)
Monday, November 16: vs. UMBC (Maui Invitational, Carnesecca Arena)
Thursday, November 19: vs. Rutgers (Gavitt Tipoff Games. Carnesecca Arena)
Monday, November 23: vs. Vanderbilt (Maui Invitational, Lahaina Civic Center, Maui)
Tuesday, November 24: vs. Indiana or Wake Forest (Maui Invitational, Lahaina Civic Center, Maui)
Wednesday, November 25: vs. TBD (Maui Invitational, Lahaina Civic Center, Maui)
Wednesday, December 2: at Fordham
Sunday, December 6: vs. St. Francis Brooklyn (Holiday Festival, Madison Square Garden)
Wednesday, December 9: vs. Niagara (Carnesecca Arena)
Sunday, December 13: vs. Syracuse (Madison Square Garden)
Friday, December 18: vs. Incarnate Word (Carnesecca Arena)
Sunday, December 20: vs. NJIT (Carnesecca Arena)
Tuesday, December 22: vs. South Carolina (Mohegan Sun Hall of Fame Shootout, Uncasville, Conn.)