As the clock ticked towards midnight on Friday, Oct. 15, hoops junkies across the nation eagerly awaited the beginning of a new year in college basketball. At the strike of 12 a.m. the NCAA regulation prohibiting teams from practicing was lifted, and Georgetown’s basketball team took the court of McDonough Gymnasium to greet the student body.
Now a longstanding tradition-especially at schools full of basketball tradition-Midnight Madness showcased the returning upperclassmen, the heralded first-years and most importantly, new Head Coach John Thompson III. Georgetown students came out in force.
“I thought it was the best Midnight Madness we’ve had in my four years,” Tien Yang (CAS ‘05) said. “It was equal if not better than freshman year, it was really crowded and everyone was cheering the whole time. It really felt like Georgetown had spirit again.”
The capacity crowd gave new men’s coach some encouragement with a standing ovation, a feat rarely seen during former Head Coach Craig Esherick’s tenure. Esherick was booed when he was introduced last year and did not deliver a speech to the student body.
“We need every student to support us,” Thompson said earlier that day during the team’s annual media day.
Thompson made first-year center Roy Hibbert dance with members of the women’s team to loud cheers from the crowd. First-year women’s head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy also spoke briefly.
The gymnasium’s lights went out during introductions and the intimate environment created a mood rarely seen in the MCI Center during games. Players from the men’s and women’s squads emerged with a spotlight beaming, music blaring and dancing momentarily at mid-court.
Junior forward Brandon Bowman came out last to raucous cheers.
Thompson announced Friday that the men’s team will play one game in McDonough this season against San Jose State on Dec. 11. Other festivities featured the annual student-faculty game, various contests and a three point shooting competition.
With so much still to do to rebuild the basketball program, Midnight Madness showcased that gaining initial student support is not a task worth worrying about.