Bring It On!

October 22, 2008

Forgive my dyslexic fun-poke at last Friday's late night celebration of the start of basketball season here on the Hilltop. Thankfully, midnight madness no longer begins at the midnight hour. It did run for three hours inside McDonough and for another two hours in advance just outdoors. I skipped the preliminaries but arrived court side for the 8:30 pm start.

Though the event came at the beginning of undergraduate parents' weekend, it was predominantly a student crowd in both attendance and enthusiasm. For the uninitiated, the evening is essentially a debut party of 2,500 for the women's and men's hoops squads. It may be the only time that the women entertain a full house in McDonough this year, but mark my words, the day is coming soon when women's basketball will sell out on campus. (For a inside rundown on the new crop of frosh, follow this link to junior guard Meredith Cox's blog on the student athlete experience. Meredith is a Big East academic all-star from Hanover, PA.)



Sportscaster Bill Raftery in a light moment with coach Terri Flournoy Williams

Sophomore guard Chris Wright encounters Jack the Bulldog

Our little band box gymnasium may no longer work for the men's games, but for Madness, few college venues anywhere can compare with the rock-the-rafters environment that is possible in McDonough. It took me six years of attending games there before I first realized the full potential of this unique indoor stadium. In February of 1976, I was president of Hoyas Unlimited and found myself at the gym for a meeting. When it ended, I happened to wander into the court to find the arena quickly filling up with the royalty of inner city basketball. I ended up staying in the building to witness a high school regional match-up between DC powerhouse Dunbar High and the nationally ranked Lake Clifton Lakers of Baltimore. Happily, the Crimson Tide were led to victory by future Hoya stars, Craig "Big Sky" Shelton and John "Bay Bay" Duren. I swear the building was literally shaking. Not before or since have I seen McDonough come alive as it did that evening. But it has come close.

Like in 1982, when #4-ranked Missouri came to town in a nationally televised match-up featuring freshman Patrick Ewing versus all-America Steve Stipanovich. The Hoyas won handily.

Like in 1993, when UTEP entered the friendly confines of McDonough in the second round of the NIT, only to be crushed by Joey Brown and the Hoya defense and by the raucous noise from the stands.

And like in 2005, when Cal State Fullerton met the Hoyas on their sold-out home court in the second round of the NIT and fell to an emerging young squad during John Thompson III's first year.

This year's edition of Midnight Madness brought back those memories of Hoyas raising the McDonough roof. In the coming months, I look forward to more of same at Verizon and McDonough for the men and women's teams.

HOYA SAXA!



Waving the colors always gets the crowd going

More dancing than basketball on the court: Monica McNutt '11 and Austin Freeman '11



Hoya fans play to the TV camera

Senior guard Jessie Sapp in basketball action

Roy Hibbert's NBA jersey on the wall next to Jeff Green's



John Thompson III dances up with Jaqui Rice '10

Celebrity magnet Taylor Price '09 welcomes Hoya dad Jerry Rice to McDonough



Hoya fans ready their signs

Sophomore transfer Julian Vaughn

Dikembe Mutombo's presence added to the spirit of the night



Cheerleaders showing their stuff

Louisiana freshmen Greg Monroe and Amanda Reese dancing the night away



Rising performing artist and Hoya student Qui Rice

NCAA final four banners adorn McDonough



PHOTO CREDIT: Mitch Layton


PJM - View From The Hilltop



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4:00 PM
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Shaw Field
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7:00 PM
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5:00 PM
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August 25
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August 27
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August 27
1:00 PM
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August 28
1:00 PM
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September 1
4:00 PM
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September 1
8:00 PM
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Palo Alto, Calif.
September 1
2:00 PM
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September 3
4:00 PM
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September 3
1:00 PM
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September 4
12:00 PM
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Shaw Field
September 8
4:00 PM
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Shaw Field
September 8
7:00 PM
UMass-Lowell
Lowell, Mass.
September 9
TBA
Campbell
Buies Creek, N.C.
September 9
7:00 PM
UConn
Storrs, Conn.
September 10
1:00 PM
Rutgers
Shaw Field
September 10
12:00 PM
Holy Cross
Worcester, Mass.
September 15
2:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Cooper Field
September 16
TBA
Marist
Cooper Field
September 16
7:00 PM
Xavier
Cincinnati, Ohio
September 17
1:00 PM
Towson
Baltimore, Md.
September 17
12:00 PM
Towson
Towson, Md.
September 18
All Day
The Memphis Intercollegiate Memphis
Colonial Country Club - Memphis, Tenn.
September 19
All Day
The Memphis Intercollegiate Memphis
Colonial Country Club - Memphis, Tenn.
September 20
4:00 PM
Stony Brook
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