Friday, March 30, 2018

St. John's Leads Legends Classic Field

Barclays Center. Photo by Jason Schott.

St. John's, Temple, VCU, and California headline the field for the 2018 Legends Classic, which culminates with the Championship Rounds at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, November 19 and 20.

All four games of the Championship Rounds will be televised on ESPN networks.

St. John's, Temple, VCU, and California will each host a pair of regional round games on campus in addition to facing off at Barclays Center in the Championship Rounds on Nov. 19-20. The four regional round hosts combine for 102 NCAA Tournament appearances and eight Final Fours.

Joining St. John's, Temple, VCU, and California in the 2018 Legends Classic are Detroit Mercy, Bowling Green, Hampton, and Loyola Maryland.
Detroit Mercy will host Bowling Green, Hampton, and Loyola Maryland in the Subregional Rounds of the Legends Classic, Nov. 19-20.
St. John's (Head Coach: Chris Mullin, Big East Conference) - In three seasons as head coach, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Chris Mullin has begun to turn around the fortunes of his alma mater...the Red Storm won 16 games this past season, the most since taking over the program...included in those wins was one of the best weeks of the season when St. John’s defeated No. 4 Duke and No. 1 Villanova...guard Shamorie Ponds earned first-team All-Big East honors for leading the conference in scoring (21.6 ppg) and steals (2.6 spg) to go with a team-high 142 assists...he headlines a squad that is expected to return three of its top four scorers, including forward Marvin Clark II, who averaged 12.5 ppg, and Justin Simon, who recorded 12.2 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds per contest...the Red Storm have been to 28 NCAA Tournaments and two Final Fours.
Temple (Head Coach: Fran Dunphy, American Athletic Conference) - Fran Dunphy led Temple to the 2018 NIT, the Owls' ninth postseason berth in his 12 seasons at the helm of the Temple program...three starters return from the 17-win squad, led by leading scorer guard Quinton Rose, who tallied a team-high 14.9 ppg to go with a team-best 49 steals en route to All-American Athletic Conference honors...guard Shizz Alston Jr. led the Owls with 102 assists to go with his 13.3 ppg average...guard Nate Pierre-Louis (7.5 ppg) was named to the AAC's All-Rookie team...Temple loses only three players from the 2017-18 roster...the Owls have been to 32 NCAA Tournaments and advanced to a pair of Final Fours.
VCU (Head Coach: Mike Rhoades, Atlantic 10 Conference) - Since joining the Atlantic 10 six seasons ago, VCU has won 73 league games - the most of any A-10 team during that span - and reached the title game of the A-10 Tournament five times...this past season, the Rams won 18 games on a team which featured nine newcomers in Mike Rhoades' first year at the helm of the program...three starters and six players who started at least seven games this past season are expected to return...leading the pack is De'Riante Jenkins, who averaged 12.9 ppg to go with 83 assists and a team-high 44 steals...swingman Issac Vann averaged 9.8 ppg...the Rams have advanced to the NCAA Tournament 16 times with one Final Four appearance.
California (Head Coach: Wyking Jones, Pacific-12 Conference) - Wyking Jones took over at Cal a year ago, inheriting a team with just two returning letterwinners...this coming season, the Golden Bears will look to benefit from gaining valuable experience as three of the team's top five scorers return, each of whom were freshmen last season: Justice Sueing tallied 13.8 ppg and is the Bears' leading returning rebounder at 5.4 rpg, Darius MacNeill averaged 11.3 ppg and handed out a team-best 70 assists, and Juhwan Harris-Dyson scored 6.2 ppg...they will be joined by a Top-25 recruiting class in 2018-19...the Bears have been to 26 NCAA Tournament and three Final Fours, winning the national title in 1959.
Detroit Mercy (Head Coach: TBA, Horizon League) - Three starters and eight letterwinners are expected to return in 2018-19...swingman Kameron Chatman, who declared for the NBA Draft but has not signed with an agent, led the Titans in scoring (17.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg) en route to second-team All-Horizon League honors...he also shot 41percent from 3-point territory (60-of-145)...guard Jermaine Jackson Jr., who started 24 of 30 games as a freshman this past season, garnered All-Freshman team laurels for averaging 10.5 ppg to go with a team-high 80 assists...the Titans have been to six NCAA Tournaments and played in the 2010 and 2014 Legends Classics.
Bowling Green (Head Coach: Michael Huger, Mid-American Conference) - Four starters are expected to return in Michael Huger's fourth season as head coach at Bowling Green...guard Justin Turner was named to the MAC All-Freshman team as well as being named honorable mention all-league for leading the Falcons with a 15.9 ppg scoring average, as well as with 81 assists and 47 steals...forward Demajeo Wiggins garnered second-team All-MAC honors in scoring 13.7 ppg and hauling down a team-best 10.1 rpg...he also led the Falcons with 15 blocked all, the top four scoring Falcons return in 2018-19...Bowling Green has been to four NCAA Tournaments and played in the 2010 Legends Classic.
Hampton (Head Coach: Edward Joyner, Big South Conference) - Edward Joyner leads the Pirates into a new era as Hampton moves from the MEAC to the Big South Conference for the 2018-19 season...the Pirates earned their fifth-straight postseason bid in 2018 by playing in the NIT after winning the MEAC regular season title...four of five starters and five of the top six scorers return, led by first-team All-MEAC selection guard Jermaine Marrow, who finished his sophomore season ranked 21st on the all-time Hampton scoring list with 1,133 points after leading the Pirates in scoring at 19.1 ppg...he also had 184 assists...guard Kalin Fisher averaged 12.8 a team, the Pirates smashed the single season free throw percentage mark, hitting at a 77.7 percent clip...Hampton has been to six NCAA Tournaments in its history.
Loyola Maryland (Head Coach: Tavaras Hardy, Patriot League) - Tavaras Hardy takes over at Loyola after serving as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech (2016-18), Georgetown (2013-16), and his alma mater, Northwestern (2007-13)...Hardy inherits a team on which three of the top five scorers from this past season are expected to return in 2017-18...highlighting the returning players is guard Chuck Champion, who is the Greyhounds' leading returning scorer at 11.5 ppg...backcourt mate Andrew Kostecka netted 11.0 ppg and led the team with 54 steals and 29 blocked shots, earning Patriot League All-Defensive team honors for his efforts...Loyola has been to two NCAA Tournaments.
The complete schedule for the 2018 Legends Classic will be announced at a later date. Follow @legendsbball on social media.
In the 2017 Legends Classic, Robert Williams III scored 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead No. 16 Texas A&M to a 98-87 win over Penn State in the championship game. Williams, who was 10-of-12 from the field against the Nittany Lions, was named the event's MVP. Penn State's Tony Carr did all he could to keep the Lions in the game by tallying 31points. The Aggies reached the title game with a 72-55 win over Oklahoma State, while Penn State downed Pittsburgh, 85-54, in the semifinals. Texas A&M would parlay their Legends Classic crown into a berth in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16.
Tickets are on sale now for the Championship Rounds of the 12th annual Legends Classic men's basketball tournament, and may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or through Tickets are also available at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center starting Saturday, March 31, at noon.

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