Midnight Madness across the country has generally been a reason for fans and students to party late, make a lot of noise, watch some thunderous dunks, and generally whip up excitement for basketball in the middle of college football season. It would seem college football should whip up excitement for basketball, but I digress. The collegiate mini-riots of pizza, adult beverages, and the things that go along with that (poor janitors) have since given way to midnight madness that doesn't start at midnight, television coverage, and something resembling control.
That things have toned down a bit in recent years didn't keep Xavier from kicking off the season in grand style last night. With former player CJ Anderson looking on, the team took the court for a three point contest, a dunk contest, and a blue v. white scrimmage. Player intros got the evening going with Coach Mack, in my opinion, taking top honors for his Real Slim Shady entrance [video below]. Also impressive were Matt Stainbrook juggling three basketballs, Erik Stenger's Born in the USA theme, and the guns* that Tim Whelan was flashing.
The three point shootout championship went to Myles Davis, who scored 19 points from behind the arc and pretty much ran away with the competition. Davis then put a bow on it by defeating the women's champ, Aliyah Zantt.
Next up came the dunk contest featuring Jalen Reynolds, Semaj Christon, Brandon Randolph, and Kamall Richards. Randolph and Richards served as the fodder the crowd wanted before getting to a Reynolds/Christon final. Christon opened with a 360 in the dunk-off, but ultimately lost when Jalen Reynolds elected to throw the ball off the back of the backboard, catch it on the other side, and whip down a windmill.
The scrimmage that followed was certainly not an example of the best that Xavier basketball has to offer. Already tired from a practice earlier in the day (not to mention all that dunking), the players were a bit sloppy and not terribly cohesive. Remy Abell, who is not eligible this year, impressed in leading all scorers. Semaj Christon also earned plaudits, though Twitter was more abuzz about his vocal leadership than his play. Matt Stainbrook led his White squad with eight, matched by Jalen Reynolds eight for Blue.
And so that is that. After collapses by both Ohio teams in the first round of the playoffs, after enduring a few weeks of college football, and after another interminable wait, basketball is back.
*That would be large arms, not actual weaponry
As promised, the Coach Mack Real Slim Shady entrance. Many thanks to Rick Broering for adding it to the public domain.