During the course of the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Media Day last week, a source told me that the Cal men's basketball team would be hosting a Midnight Madness-type event at Haas Pavilion on Oct. 30, and now those plans have officially come to light.
On the occasion of announcing the signings of Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown, Bears head coach Cuonzo Martin addressed the possibility that Cal could host a late-night, kick-off event for a program that comes into the season voted No. 2 in the Pac-12 and ranked No. 14 in the USA TODAY Coaches' Poll.
“If you guys poll the fans, and they say we need to do it, then we’ll do it,” Martin said.
Consider it done. Cal will open up Haas Pavilion for a 10 p.m. Blue-Gold Scrimmage the night before Halloween. Doors will open at 9 p.m., and admission is free to the public. The band is expected to be at the event, and a source close to the program told BearTerritory that the Bears anticipate having several recruits on hand, including Charlie Moore, who will be on his official visit. Other details are still being finalized.
"We're excited about the Blue and Gold scrimmage, and I think, for me, as a coach, I'm excited to have fans in Haas Pavilion, which is obviously a great place," Martin said. "One of the things it'll do is, it'll give our guys a chance to play in front of fans, and give them a feel, because it's different when you're practicing behind the scenes, you're in Australia, not as many fans -- outside of the last game -- and now, all of the sudden, it's getting close to the season, playing real games, and it'll give our guys a chance to play against each other. After a while, you beat up on each other so much in practice, and you want to play in games. To scrimmage against each other, with the fans, It'll be fun for our staff to see it, as well. October 30, we'll be here."
In years past, the Bears have hosted small scrimmages on Halloween night, to middling attendance. With two five-star freshmen on the roster now, and such high expectations going into the 2015-16 season -- which unofficially starts on Monday, Nov. 9 against Carroll College, and then tips off officially on Nov. 13 against Rice at Haas Pavilion -- Martin ensured that the Bears would not miss out on the Midnight Madness craze.
Mathews was named to the preseason Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award Watch List, while Rabb was named to the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Watch List, and Brown was named to the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Watch List. Point guard Tyrone Wallace, who eschewed the NBA to return to Berkeley for his senior year, is on the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Watch List.
Cal basketball last hosted a proper Midnight Madness (it was actually officially called Midnight Madness) on Oct. 12, 2001.