|St. John's Red Storm|
|University||St. John's University|
|All-time record||1,900-1,030 (.648)|
|Head coach||Mike Anderson (2nd season)|
|Location||New York City, New York|
Madison Square Garden
(Capacity: 5,602, 19,812)
|Nickname||Red Storm, Red Men, Johnnies|
|Colors||Red and White|
|NCAA Tournament Runner-up|
|NCAA Tournament Final Four|
|NCAA Tournament Elite Eight|
|1951, 1952, 1979, 1985, 1991, 1999|
|NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen|
|1951, 1952, 1967, 1969, 1979, 1983, 1985, 1991, 1999|
|NCAA Tournament Appearances|
|1951, 1952, 1961, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2011, 2015, 2019|
|Conference Tournament Champions|
|1983, 1986, 2000|
|Conference Regular Season Champions|
|1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1992|
The St. John's Red Storm men's basketball team represents the St. John's University in Queens, New York. The team participates in the Big East Conference. As of the end of the 2019-20 season, St. John's rank ninth with 1,871 total wins among the NCAA Division I teams. St. John's is coached by Mike Anderson.
The St. John's men's basketball team played its first game on December 6, 1907, losing to New York University and registering its first win in program history against Adelphi University on January 3, 1908. Just three years later, the 1910-11 St. John's basketball team went on to have an undefeated 14-0 season coached by former track and field Olympian Claude Allen, for which the team was later honored by the Helms Foundation as national champions.
Twenty years later, former St.John's player James "Buck" Freeman was hired as the coach of the basketball team and in his first four years from 1927 to 1931 had a historic 85-8 record. The 1929-30 and 1930-31 teams were known[by whom?] as the "Wonder Five", made up of Matty Begovich, Mac Kinsbrunner, Max Posnack, Allie Schuckman, and Jack "Rip" Gerson, who together helped revolutionize the game of basketball and made St. John's the marquee team in New York City.[according to whom?] On January 19, 1931, the Wonder Five team was a part of the first college basketball triple-header at Madison Square Garden in a charity game which saw St. John's beat CCNY by a score 17-9. Freeman finished his coaching career with a record of 177-31 for an .850 winning percentage.
Joe Lapchick, a former player of the Original Celtics, took over as coach at St. John's in 1936 and he continued the success the school had become used to under Buck Freeman. Lapchick coached the St. John's University men's basketball team from 1936 to 1947 and again from 1956 to 1965. His Redmen teams won 4 NIT championships (1943, 1944, 1959, 1965). Lapchick preferred to take his teams to the more prestigious NIT instead of the NCAA Tournament making the NIT semifinals 8 out of a total 12 times, and only one NCAA tournament appearance in his 20 years of coaching the Redmen. Under Lapchick's coaching his teams also won 6 Metropolitan New York Conference regular season titles.
On its way to its first of back-to-back NIT titles, St. John's would go on to have a record of 21-3 with only two losses occurring during the regular season. One was a 40-46 home loss to rival Niagara and another was a 38-42 loss at Madison Square Garden to Manhattan. The 1942-43 St. John's team were led by senior caption Andrew "Fuzzy" Levane and sophomore All-American center Harry Boykoff. The Redmen's trademark defense and inside scoring presence of Boykoff led them past Rice, Fordham, and Toledo to claim what would be the first of six NIT titles. The season did not end after the NIT, in just three days later St. John's would go on to participate in the first Red Cross charity benefit game against NCAA champion Wyoming to determine a true national champion. Wyoming though would go on to win 52-47.
St. John's became the first team to repeat as champions in the seven-year history of the NIT even though World War II and the players' commitment to serve in the armed forces made it a very difficult season. Harry Boykoff would miss the entire 1943-44 and 1944-45 seasons due to being drafted for the war effort, along with the team's star point guard Dick McGuire for half the 1943-44 season and the entire following two years. Despite the losses of their star players, the St. John's team managed to finish the season with an 18-5 record and a second NIT crown by defeating Adolph Rupp's Kentucky Wildcats and Ray Meyer's DePaul Blue Demons. The Redmen were led by play making junior guards Hy Gotkin and Bill Kotsores, the latter of which was selected as the 1944 NIT MVP. For the second year in a row the Redmen participated in the Red Cross benefit game where they faced the NCAA champion Utah where they ended up losing 36-44. The 1951 1952 team lost to Kentucky 81-40 in December 1951. In the NCAA tournament, St John's beat Kentucky, 64-57. They later finished second in the tournament to Kansas.
St. John's success continued the following year where they produced another 21-3 record, but their chance at a rematch with George Mikan's DePaul squad and a third consecutive NIT title was shattered with an upset loss to Bowling Green in the semifinals. They would go on to beat Rhode Island State for a third-place finish. The next two years Lapchick's Redmen teams made the NIT both times and added two more Metropolitan New York Conference regular season titles before Lapchick left to take the head coaching job of the New York Knickerbockers in just the second year of their existence in the new Basketball Association of America, becoming the highest paid coach of the league at the time.
Lapchick was succeeded by Frank McGuire, a former player under Buck Freeman, who made the postseason four out of five years as the coach and had an overall record of 102-36 culminating in a second-place finish in the 1952 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. Under McGuire, the Redmen reached an overall number one ranking in the AP poll twice, won three Metropolitan New York Conference regular season titles, competed in four NITs and made their first appearance in the NCAA tournament where they made it to the Elite Eight before falling to eventual national champion Kentucky. They would go on though to defeat North Carolina State for a regional third-place finish.
At the end of the season, coach Frank McGuire left St. John's to become the basketball coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. On paper, this was a significant step down from St. John's, as UNC was not reckoned as a national power at the time. However, school officials wanted a big-name coach to counter the rise of rival North Carolina State under Everett Case. McGuire's assistant coach, Al "Dusty" DeStefano, took over the head coaching duties of the St. John's team from 1952 to 1956. DeStefano's teams only made one postseason appearance and it was 58-46 loss to the Seton Hall Pirates in the NIT Finals who were led by All-American center Walter Dukes. The following year featured the Redmen ending up with their first losing season in over 30 years.
After one month from leaving his position with the New York Knicks, Lapchick resumed his head coaching duties where he originally started and put St. John's back on its winning path. Picking up right where he left off adding two more NIT championships, making the postseason 6 out of 9 times, and having an overall college coaching record of 334-130. In 20 years of coaching in the college ranks, Lapchick only had one losing season.
St. John's finished the 1958-59 season with an overall 20-6 record and captured its first ECAC Holiday Festival title with a 90-79 victory over St. Joseph's in the final and the school's third NIT championship by defeating top-seeded Bradley 76-70 in double overtime. The starting five for the Redmen consisted of four seniors and sophomore sensation Tony Jackson who was named both the Holiday Festival and NIT MVP during the 1958-59 season setting a school record of 27 rebounds in one game. At the end of the season senior captain Alan Seiden was rewarded with second team All-American honors and the Haggerty Award, given to the best collegiate player in the New York metropolitan area. Throughout the next three years, St. John's would go 58-18 led by Jackson who would receive All-American honors all three years at school, 6'11" center and future NBA champion LeRoy Ellis, and future ABA/NBA coaching legend Kevin Loughery. In the 1961-62 season, St. John's would make their fifth NIT finals appearance before falling to Dayton 73-67.\7
Lapchick went into the 1964-65 season knowing it would be his last year coaching at St. John's because he reached the mandatory retirement age of the university. It would become a memorable season for the sixty-five year old coach in which his team began the year off by upsetting Cazzie Russell's Michigan Wolverines, the No. 1 team in the nation according to both the AP and UPI polls, by a score of 75-74 to capture the school's second ECAC Holiday Festival title. St. John's would finish the season 21-8 and go on a remarkable run in the 1965 NIT by defeating Boston College, New Mexico, Army, and top-seeded Villanova to win Lapchick his fourth NIT championship. The Redmen were led by the rebounding of sophomore forward Lloyd "Sonny" Dove and the scoring of senior Ken McIntyre who totaled 101 points in his last four games, over 1,000 points for his entire career, and being named the MVP of both the Holiday Festival and NIT.
Lou Carnesecca was hired as the head basketball coach at St. John's in 1965, after serving as an assistant at St. John's since 1958, given the difficult task to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Joe Lapchick. In the 1985 NCAA Tournament, he coached the Redmen to their second Final Four appearance. He was named the National Coach of the Year in 1983 and 1985 and Big East Coach of the Year on three occasions. His record at St. John's was 526-200. Coach Carnesecca would win the school's record fifth NIT title in 1989 and as well as making the Elite Eight in 1979 and 1991, and the Sweet Sixteen in 1967, 1969, 1983. Coach Carnesecca would temporarily leave St. John's to coach in the ABA from 1970 to 1973, and would leave the team to be coached by assistant and former player Frank Mulzoff who gathered a record of 56-27 and three postseasons before Carnesecca's return and help guide the program to 29 consecutive postseason tournament appearances and transition to playing in a major conference, the Big East.
The Red Storm have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 30 times. Their combined record is 27-32. Due to impermissible benefits to a player, their 2002 appearance has been vacated by the NCAA making their official record 27-31.
|Sweet Sixteen||NC State||64-57|
|Elite Eight||#1 Kentucky||78-76|
|Final Four||#2 Illinois||61-59|
|National Championship||#8 Kansas||63-80|
|Round of 64||Southern||83-59|
|Round of 32||Arkansas||68-65|
|Elite Eight||#16 NC State||69-60|
|Final Four||#1 Georgetown||59-77|
* Vacated by the NCAA
The Red Storm have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) 30 times. Their combined record is 45-30. They are six-time NIT Champions (1943, 1944, 1959, 1965, 1989, 2003). Due to impermissible benefits to a player, their 2003 appearance (and title) has been vacated by the NCAA making their official record 40-30.
|*||Elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame|
|Coach||Years||Record||Winning %||Record||Winning %|
|P. Joseph Kersey||1908-09||9-6||.600|
|Harry A. Fisher||1909-10||15-5||.750|
|Claude Allen||1910-11, 1912-14||33-19||.635|
|Joseph O'Shea||1911-12, 1914-17||43-27||.614|
|John Crenny||1918-21, 1922-27||105-86||.550|
|Joe Lapchick||1936-47, 1956-65||334-130||.720|
|Lou Carnesecca||1965-70, 1973-92||526-200||.725||139-80||.635|
Big East rivalries
The St. John's-Georgetown rivalry was one of the most intense matchups in the Big East during the 1980s highlighted by the 1985 Big East Championship, 1985 NCAA Semifinal Game, and the famous "Sweater Game" between Hall of Fame coaches Lou Carnesecca and John Thompson, and Hall of Fame players Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing. St. John's fans also count other East Coast rivals Villanova Wildcats, Providence Friars, Seton Hall Pirates, and former Big East founders Syracuse Orange and the Boston College Eagles along the Connecticut Huskies and Pittsburgh Panthers among their most frequently played opponents.
New York rivalries
St. John's fifth most frequent played opponent is fellow Vincentian and Upstate New York college, the Niagara Purple Eagles. The universities have played each other every college basketball season from 1909 to 2007. St. John's also frequently plays other New York City opponents representing the four other NYC boroughs; the Fordham Rams and Manhattan Jaspers of The Bronx, the St. Francis Terriers and LIU Blackbirds of Brooklyn, the NYU Violets and CCNY Beavers of Manhattan, and the Wagner Seahawks of Staten Island. These teams were all instrumental in creating the postseason National Invitational Tournament hosted annually at Madison Square Garden. From 1933 to 1963 most of these schools came together to play each other in the Metropolitan New York Conference. The Red Storm own an all-time record of 250-86 against these other New York City schools.
Career individual records
Season individual records
Game individual records
Notable players and coaches
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Members
The following St. John's players, coaches, and contributors have been enshrined in the Naismith Hall of Fame.