Crimson-White Preview

Mark Gottfried will give fans a peek at what tricks he has in store for the 2004-05 basketball season when he and the Crimson Tide treat fans to a free night of basketball and family fun at the Crimson and White game on Saturday at 6 p.m. CDT in Coleman Coliseum. There is no admission charge.

The Alabama basketball team will split its roster for the game, which is a full-scale scrimmage. The event is Alabama's fan night as well. Free team posters will be given out at the door and after the scrimmage, the players and the coaches will sign autographs. Fans are encouraged to bring their cameras as well to take their pictures with their favorite Tide players.

Because the event coincides with Hallowe'en weekend, the team is hosting a Hallowe'en costume contest at halftime. There will be two categories, one for kids and one for adults. The winners in each category will win a pair of season tickets for the Tide's home games this season.

"I'm excited about it, and I hope our fans are," said Mark Gottfried, who coached Alabama to its first NCAA Elite 8 finish in 2004. "It gives them an opportunity to watch our team, and we have a lot of new faces for them to watch and get to know. I'm excited about giving our fans a chance to meet these players after the game and get down on the court and take pictures with the players. I think it's going to be a great opportunity for our fans.

"We're going to split the teams evenly to start off with. We may change at the half. We'll try to make it a competitive game. But again, I just think it's a good chance for all of fans to come and get to know these guys, get to know our team better. Hopefully we'll have a great number of people out there showing their support and there just to have a fun night. It's a great event to bring your family."

Alabama students will not only get to see the Tide play, but those in attendance who join "Mark's Madness"–basketball's student support group–can win prizes. Among the prizes that will be given away are a television set, a video game system and gift certificates to area restaurants.

"We're really looking forward to it," said senior starting guard Earnest Shelton who was voted preseason All-Southeastern Conference second team by the league's coaches. "We didn't have a Midnight Madness, so this is our Midnight Madness. We're looking forward to giving our fans the opportunity to see us play but, more importantly, we're looking forward to getting to meet our fans and spend some time with them, interact with them, and just have fun."

And it's a team that will be fun to watch according to junior starting forward Kennedy Winston, All-SEC in 2004 and a 2005 John R. Wooden Preseason All-America.

"Saturday's going to be a dress rehearsal for us, a way to see how we align," said Winston. "We're all looking forward to it because we've been working hard at practice and it'll be fun to get out in front of a crowd and play in a game-like atmosphere. And it's fun dividing the team up like this because we've got a lot of very competitive guys on the team, and that makes it more fun."

Alabama officially opens the season at 5:30 p.m. CST November 19, against Western Carolina.

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