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Sunday, April 14, 2024

The 30 Most Influential NCAA MBB Groups of SLAM’s 30 Years: ‘99 St. John’s

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To have a good time SLAM’s thirtieth anniversary, we’re spotlighting the 30 most influential males’s faculty groups from our previous 30 years. Stats, data and chips aren’t the primary issue right here, it’s all about their contribution to the sport’s cultural material.

For the following 30 days—Monday by way of Friday— we’ll be unveiling the full record right here. We’ve additionally bought an unique retro collegiate assortment, out now, that pays homage to every squad’s threads. Store right here.


Again in ‘99, St. John wasn’t only a college; they represented the true essence of New York Metropolis. Their males’s basketball staff was no exception: with a hustler’s spirit, a chip on their shoulder, and newly sponsored hearth engine crimson Jordan Model uniforms, they lifted this system into a brand new period. The Crimson Storm might have entered the season unranked, however by March, all the faculty ecosystem was echoing the vibrations of Queens. 

Head coach Mike Jarvis understood what he was coping with in his squad: gamers like Queensbridge native Metta Sandiford-Artest – recognized again then as Ron Artest –  grew up residing on New York Metropolis black tops. Toughness and angle weren’t ever a query. As a substitute, he capitalized on that depth and fueled their native satisfaction so that each time his gamers took the courtroom, they performed to symbolize themselves and town. With a 28-9 common season report, they captivated audiences in all places they went. Artest’s will to win was off the charts, like when he made certain to nail that three in opposition to Duke to push the sport into OT as a result of he knew he’d sink it. Then there was freshman sensation Erick Barkley, who dazzled crowds with no-look passes and highlight-reel dunks. Bootsy Thornton didn’t simply dominate on the defensive finish; he may rating beneath any circumstances. The 2-time All-Large East choice was good for almost 15 factors a recreation, however the DMV native actually shined beneath the highlight. The No. 2 ranked Duke Blue Devils had been on the receiving finish of 1 such efficiency, the place Thorton exploded for a 40-piece. Bolstered by Tyrone Grant’s put up presence and Lavor Postell’s sharp taking pictures from deep, the Storm’s 5 double-digit scorers may gentle it up in transition and half-court. 

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The Crimson Storm weren’t afraid to bully their method by way of the Large East whereas rocking these dishevelled but modern bright-red uniforms. Any time they stepped on the ground, they weren’t content material with simply successful; they needed to entertain, to depart spectators in awe of their expertise and dominance. St. John’s destroyed the Maryland Terrapins 76-62 as a result of they weren’t happy with simply successful; they needed to present their dominance over their opponents. Barkley’s 24-piece was proof sufficient. Every recreation was a spectacle, a showcase of the staff’s expertise. 

The Large East championship recreation went right down to the wire in opposition to UConn, and regardless of the 82-63 loss, that was just the start of their postseason run. St. John’s dominated the NCAA match by way of the Elite Eight, successful every recreation by a median of 25 factors.

And even now, many years later, the legacy of the ‘99 St. John’s males’s basketball staff lives on. They continue to be a logo of hope and inspiration, a reminder that something is feasible with exhausting work, dedication, and a never-say-die angle. They weren’t only a staff; they had been a phenomenon, a shining instance of what might be achieved when expertise, willpower, and coronary heart come collectively in good concord. Their influence prolonged far past the confines of the basketball courtroom. With the Large East working by way of Mecca in 98-99, the Crimson Storm returned to the Backyard 25 years later to a standing ovation from the New York devoted. Their legacy is cemented and enshrined within the metropolis’s historic reference to the sport. 


Photographs by way of Getty Photographs.



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