Midnight Madness: Plenty of festivities

Before the players even took the court, McKale Center was as busy as ever with a number of pregame festivities. Everything you can imagine was represented from students shooting for money to fans shooting half-court shots for $10,000. While it was entertaining to see the numerous festivities put on with fans involved, the most interesting festivities included the players.

Zach Selwyn, a Tucson native, was the MC for the night. Most known for his second place finish on ESPN's Dream Job, Selwyn, joked with the crowd, and even put some players into his shoes.

To start of the night, freshman Jawann McClellan, sophomore Linda Pace, freshman Daniel Dillon, junior Shawntinice Polk, and junior Isaiah Fox, acted as sports announcers calling a highlight reel. The clips featured moments from last season for both the men's and women's teams.

A panel of judges featuring former University of Arizona basketball star Bob Elliott, PGA Tour player Ricky Barnes, Director of Basketball Operations Ryan Hansen, women's basketball play-by-play announcer Paul Johnson , Fox Sports Net Arizona announcer Todd Walsh, and University of Arizona correspondent for Fox Sports Net Lindsay Waltman.

The funniest moment for the highlight reels came following McClellan's. McClellan finished up his highlight reel and looked up to find himself up on screen.

"I look so sexy on TV," said McClellan.

Following the highlight reel were player introductions. When the women's team was introduced, the players were excited and joyous. However, nothing could match that of the men.

When each player was introduced, he would come out dancing and some would even break dance at center court. Getting the crowd involved was a special moment for these young men.

"We had no idea they had their pregame plans," said Head Coach Lute Olson. "This is a night for them to have fun and for people to get a chance to see their personalities. This night was for them. Tomorrow will be regular basketball."


When there were two players remaining to be introduced, a video began playing instead of the players running out onto the court. The video showed Channing Frye and Salim Stoudamire leaving class being greeted by the cheerleaders and an attractive student body group. They then got into a super stretch limousine before arriving in front of McKale Center, once again being greeted by an attractive group of females.

Frye and Stoudamire then entered McKale Center and began looking at the Sears trophy won in 1997 when Arizona won the National Championship. They then made a grand entrance coming down the stairs instead of through the tunnel, establishing themselves as the team leaders.

Following the player introductions came more of the typical Midnight Madness festivities. First up was the shooting competition. This event featured Katrina Lindner and Stoudamire facing off against Mustafa Shakur and Dee-Dee Wheeler.

The competition featured five spots on each half of the court. A one point layup, a two point jumper, a three point shot, a deeper three point shot worth five points, and a ten point half court shot. While it was unclear who won, one thing was obvious. When Lindner and Stoudamire combined to hit 12 three-pointers in a row, it was obvious they are special players.

The moment of the night occurred at the end of the shooting competition. With time running out, Stoudamire ran to half court to attempt the ten point shot. Even though time had already expired, his team was granted the points when he hit a half court shot.

Following the shooting competition was the slam dunk competition. This competition featured a veteran dunker at Arizona, and a freshman working his way up. Hassan Adams took on McClellan for the slam-dunk competition.

After their first two attempts, McClellan and Adams were tied. McClelland's best dunk of the competition was when Jesus Verdejo threw the ball off the glass and McClellan jumped over him for the slam.

Adams' best attempt featured the veteran at his best. Adams performed 360 one-handed dunk. While the spectacular slam may not have been the sole reason he won the competition, it showed how versatile a dunker he is.

While the Midnight Madness festivities were fun to watch, the true reason for the night was to see the players scrimmage against each other. The 20:00 game ended in a 42-42 tie as the freshmen and sophomores took on the Juniors and the Seniors.

This team is extremely competitive mixing pure talent with chemistry, an ingredient missing from last year's team. These players got along extremely well, and because of all the extreme talent put on the court, their practices will be even more intense.

Arizona is poised to make a Final Four run this year, and if tonight's festivities were any indication, Arizona could be cutting down the nets in St. Louis.


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