And just like that, basketball season is officially here.
The 2013 edition Marquette Madness lived up to its billing as a hyped-up show that always leaves you wanting more, but delivering a bang to the season nonetheless. There were no MU NBA alumni appearances, as they are all busy trying to make a team with training camp in full throttle.
That’s not to say there weren’t any NBA players on hand. Todd Mayo’s brother O.J. of the Milwaukee Bucks made an appearance and sat at the media table through the full program. He and a loaded class of recruiting targets got to see an event that was tedious at some points, but a good time nonetheless.
After the women’s portion of the event that took up about the first 40 minutes, the men’s team was introduced to the loudest ovations of the night. Deonte Burton eschewed the normal pomp and walked to center court, something never before seen at this event. Davante Gardner drew the biggest cheers of the night as he put on a little dance show for the fans, doing his finest Terio (google it) and just generally being the goof that he is. Unsurprisingly, his parents were wearing blue shirts with his picture on it that read “automatic.” Too much awesome there.
When it came time to introduce Buzz Williams at the end, none other than Country Roads blared, the song that he danced to after a crucial victory in West Virginia in 2012 that nearly got him decapitated by enraged Eers. I’m not sure whose idea it was, but that person deserves a raise. Buzz did a little two step again, adding it was safe to do it this time because none of the fans would get mad at him. On the contrary, it was a ballsy move that’s sure to lead to some deranged comments under this post in the near future.
That levity was then followed with one of the most touching tributes by a player to a coach you’ll ever see. Words don’t do it justice, you have to see the video for yourself.
It was a strange mood after that heartfelt speech, with the crowd not knowing if it was okay to go crazy again so the two three-point contests that followed were a little awkward. Jake Thomas beat Davante Gardner in their head to head, making 22 3s to Gardner’s 19 in a minute, but falling short of the world record by three. The contest after that was new and the rules were tough to hear but basically there were four teams of four, two composed of the men, two of the women. After one round, a team composed of Gardner, Thomas, Juan Anderson and Buzz took down the women’s team easily to claim the crown.
That’s when things got good again, as the dunk contest was ready to kick off. Deonte Burton was the heavy favorite against Jajuan Johnson, Duane Wilson and the Golden Eagle mascot and he did not disappoint, scoring the only perfect 50 of the night with his second dunk and beating Johnson in the finals. Neither Duane nor the Eagle completed a dunk.
Even O.J. Mayo was cheering after that dunk.
He’s got some hops on him
We will have more highlights from the scrimmage at some time this weekend and a photo gallery from the festivities as well.