basketball-men-d1 flag

St. John's Athletics | June 28, 2014

Lavin surprises Make-A-Wish recipient

Steve Lavin and members of the St. John's cheer squad help dedicate a basektball court for Joe Isola. Steve Lavin and members of the St. John's cheer squad help dedicate a basektball court for Joe Isola.

STONY BROOK, N.Y. -- When Make-A-Wish Suffolk County celebrated a 12-year-old’s completion of chemotherapy by granting a wish to build him a basketball court, an enthusiastic, capacity crowd was on hand for the dedication and opening tip. Though the weather forecast was for clear skies on a beautiful Friday in Long Island, recovering cancer patient Joe Isola and his group of 200 family members, fans and friends were pleasantly surprised when a Storm front rolled in as part of the festivities.

“It was awesome,” said Isola, whose wish was to have the basketball surface built in his back yard but did not expect the court’s first action to include St. John’s men’s basketball coach Steve Lavin, Red Storm mascot Johnny Thunderbird and the SJU cheer and dance teams. “I was really surprised to see them. I'm so happy!”

"It was an honor for St. John's to participate in Joe's Make-A-Wish experience. It's clear Joe is a courageous individual with an indomitable spirit, and possesses a contagious zeal for living life to its fullest,” Lavin said. “We can all learn from the strong example Joe sets in how to better navigate adversity. Celebrating Joe's big day with his family, friends and fans will be an everlasting memory.”

Make-A-Wish planned many surprises and enhancements to Joe’s wish, including custom uniforms for him to suit up his very own NBA-style team, which he named the Blue Lightning. And of course, there was the appearance by the Red Storm.

"It was an incredible day that they'll never forget," said Joe's dad, Tony Isola. “Between Make-A-Wish and St. John’s, it was something that [our family] never dreamed of happening. [The kids] said they just thought they were getting a court, and all the other stuff has been beyond belief. They'll never forget this.”

Joe’s basketball court wish was donated and personally built by Make-A-Wish Suffolk County board member Gary Duff.

“[Friday] we truly shared the power of a wish with the community and everyone who came together to make Joseph's wish come true,” said Karine Hollander, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Suffolk County.

That time Frank Viola and Ron Darling pitched the greatest college baseball game ever played

On May 21, 1981, future Major League Baseball all-stars Ron Darling and Frank Viola went head-to-head in the greatest college baseball game ever played.
READ MORE

St. John's baseball: We picked a starting lineup of all-time Red Storm greats

Take a look through the history books as we select St. John baseball's all-time starting nine. Find out which college baseball players slugged their way into the lineup.
READ MORE

2019 NCAA tournament schedule: Watch Wednesday games for March Madness

The 2019 NCAA tournament continues with two games on the Wednesday schedule as part of the First Four.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners