Allow me to check my journalistic integrity at the door, and shamelessly pimp for our school’s varsity hoops team. This Friday is Midnight Madness, which will be the kickoff party for USF’s college basketball season. For those of you not familiar with the ritual of watching dunk drills at odd hours in mid-October, the tradition started because the absolute first second an NCAA basketball team can hold formal practice is 12:01 a.m., Oct. 13 … so hoops-crazy schools decided to make a party out of it. The tradition has come back to USF, and this party will kick off what will be a great year of BasketBull.
Three words … The Big Dance. This team is going, so instead of breaking your leg jumping on the bandwagon later in the season, get on and get pumped right now.
We are returning two seniors (that’s right, actual, real, honest-to-God seniors, a rarity for kids with pro talent nowadays),
B.B. Waldon and Altron Jackson, who have a chance to end their careers as the No. 1 and No. 2 scorers in the history of Conference USA.
We don’t play in the Midwest Junior College Athletic League Southeast, folks. This is a big time D-1 power conference. To have two players with a shot at the conference career-scoring mark is incredible. Barring injury or something unexpected, this team should ride plenty of talent, offense, and solid man-to-man and 1-3-1 trap defenses to some more madness in March.
I talked to Brad Greenberg, director of Basketball Operations, about the upcoming season. He is one of the best basketball minds out there, having worked in the front office for the Portland Trailblazers and Philadelphia 76ers. He said, “We want to use all the support from the student body that we can. This is a high level college program that plays an exciting brand of basketball.”
He’s right. Midnight Madness is a free event for the entire community. With your USF ID, admission to any game is free. And despite my personal preference for watching slow, non-athletic kids run screens and backdoor cuts all day, a la Princeton … this team gets up and down the floor and never stops running. You’re going to get to see some of the highest quality and most exciting brand of hoops in America. Can you find me a better sporting value in Tampa Bay? You still have to pay $3 to watch that minor league baseball team play in the oversized library that is Tropicana Field, not to mention drive over there.
And it all starts on Friday at 10 p.m. There will be surprise celebrity guests, an exhibition step show, a student 3-point contest, and the Bud Fun Zone giving out prizes. Wild 98.7 will be there, and Coach Seth
Greenberg will be awarding a scholarship to the student he thinks is the biggest USF Bulls fan. The women’s hoops team will be joining in for a 2-ball contest, and the men’s team will be performing a skit for the fans. If they can act like they can play, they should get their SAG cards now.
So get ready for what might be the most exciting season in USF history. Come out and show your support Friday night/Saturday morning and for all 15 home games this year. This is the team, and this is the time … GO BULLS!