Fox has a fine article on Red Storm in Paris which begins…
The redemption of St. John’s University basketball began more than 3,600 miles away from home, on the other side of the ocean and in a place that in every way is the opposite of Madison Square Garden, that gritty, magical arena where the Red Storm play most home games.
A couple blocks from the River Seine on a lazy Parisian summer night, St. John’s players filed off the bus and into the Stade Pierre de Coubertin to play a team from the second-tier French pro league. This was the Red Storm’s first game since last season’s roller coaster ended with eight losses in the final 10 games. St. John’s is no longer the youngest of the 347 Division I teams in college basketball, and this two-week basketball tour of Europe would provide a glimpse into whether it is still one of the nation’s most talented teams, and most enigmatic.
Inside, the 5,000-seat arena was occupied: practice for a local handball team. So the American team walked toward the basement locker room, its game relegated to the tiny annex gym: seating capacity 165 compared to 20,000 at The Garden, air conditioning barely functional, rims so bouncy that players seemed flummoxed by why so few warm-up shots went in.
But the level of anticipation? For a team about to tip off on a new beginning, this might as well have been The Garden in March.
“It’s the first day of the rest of our life,” head coach Steve Lavin said. “It’s like opening day in baseball. It’s that rare opportunity we get to have a new beginning, a fresh start, a reset. And to have it in Paris – it’s a pretty special feeling right now.”
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