Midnight Madness excites fans

Justin Law



C.J. Trotter performs a dunk while jumping over students Josh Davis and Paige Tinsley during Midnight Madnesss on Friday.

Friday night started with lots of college students standing and waiting for doors to open in the PAC.  There was laughter, a little yelling and people waiting to see USI Basketball Midnight Madness.  

Then the almost 1200 students walked into the PAC, stopped and got free food and free drinks supplied by SGA, and walked to their seats to watch and cheer on Midnight Madness.

Prior to the players showing off their skills, the cheerleaders and the dance squad performed.  During their performances, several of the coaches leaned in the door before they were introduced and took photos of the large crowd in the stands and surrounding the gym floor.

After the performances, Men’s Graduate Assistant Brent Owen stepped onto the floor and called people out of the stands to play a few different games, including a basketball shooting competition.  

There was a costume contest, where people showed up dressed up to be the best-dressed fan, including four students dressed in green full-body suits, and several women dressed in USI themed outfits and a man dressed in an outfit with the words “Rain Man” painted in blue across his white painted upper body.

The men’s and women’s teams competed in a three point contest, which the men won.  After the three point contest, senior guard CJ Trotter won by completing another dunk over two willing volunteers.

“This is way better than what we did at our high school,” Rachael Demaree, a freshmen pre-nursing major, said. Demaree said that the number of people at the event was surprising to her.  

Laura Everest, a sophomore art/advertising major and SGA member, said, “it is awesome.  We are really impressed with the turnout.”

SGA Administrative Vice President of University Affairs/RedZone Dylan Melling said that RedZone took a couple of different avenues, including Facebook, a banner near the quad’s fountain, and passing out small fliers the day of the event.  

Melling also said that success of the event was due to the build-up that Midnight Madness had for weeks.

“We have a group of new, young people on the committee who are willing to step up and help,” Melling said.

He said that this group was ready to do anything to promote USI sports and the RedZone, which partially led to the success of Midnight Madness.

Rinesha Soaper, a junior guard from Henderson, KY said this year’s Midnight Madness actually was madness.  Soaper said that it was nice to have interaction between the players and to receive the cheers from the fans.  

“It’s a big thing for us, of course. Many people are here for the men, but the audience cheered for us, too,” she said.

A new player to the team, Jared Rehmel, said it was surprising to see as good a turnout as they had.  

“It was awesome to see that turnout. It gets us excited for the season,” he said.  Trotter said he liked to see all the support from the team’s fellow students.

“My best moment was with the three green men.  They slid on their stomachs for me.  They promised me they would be at the games.  I’m looking forward to that,” Women’s Assistant Coach Randa Dallas said.