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St. John’s needs the Knicks

March 31, 2010

 

The Knicks and St. John's have been in basketball purgatory

St. John’s took the right step with Steve Lavin in the attempt to rise up to respectability again in the Big Apple.  Lavin is a well-known name, with a contagious personality who can recruit his ass off.  Norm Roberts certainly did a great job restoring class to the Red Storm basketball program, but it will be up to Lavin to bring in the big-time players and make St. John’s basketball a national program again. 

The New York Knicks have experienced their own share of futility for the last decade or so, and Madison Square Garden has lost that buzz that earned it the title “The Worlds Most Famous Arena.”  During the 1999-2000 season, the Knickerbockers were playing in front of sell-outs on a nightly basis, reaching the Conference and NBA finals.  Now, the newspapers may say 19,000 plus in the box scores, but we all know those are just fabricated numbers.  An attendee’s quick look to the right or left will sure to find plenty of empty seats. 

1999-2000 was also a good year for St. John’s, as the program was winning Big East titles and advancing to the Elite 8.  Like Sprewell, Ewing and the Knicks, Artest, Barkley and the Redmen were playing in front of sold-out crowds with more buzz than a bee-hive. 

Fast forward to the present, and the mystique of the Garden has dwindled.  Sure, Lebron James may say how much he loves playing here, but when the Knicks are bad the reputation of the Garden suffers as a result.  Basketball wise, there hasn’t been much to get excited about at Madison Square Garden for the better part of a decade. The glitz and glamour that should be associated with MSG has been diluted by perpetually terrible home teams both in the professional and college ranks.

I think it has become pretty obvious that the big-time New York recruits don’t view playing in Madison Square Garden as a luxury anymore.  Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Fran Fraschilla and Mike Jarvis could sell players on the chance of sharing a home court with the Eastern Conference Champion New York Knicks. 

Now, a chance to play on the same floor as Al Harrington and Wilson Chandler (no disrespect) is not going to force a kid to stay home. 

Steve Lavin has a tough job ahead of him, as New York City isn’t the feeding ground it once was for St. John’s.  D’Antoni and Walsh have an equally treacherous task of uplifting the Knicks from the dead.  While a quality St. John’s team might not assist Walsh with his daunting task, a succesful Knicks team will go a long way in bringing in highly touted recruits to St. John’s. 

If the Knicks do get Lebron, who wouldn’t want to share the same stage as the King?

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