Midnight Madness, an event popularized by former University of Maryland head coach Lefty Driessell, is an event that unofficially kicks off the basketball season for hundreds of programs across the country by inviting fans to attend the first official public practice allowed by the NCAA. For most programs, especially blue blood programs, the event draws masses of people to see their team put on a show with a variety of basketball competitions.
In Nevada head coach Eric Musselman’s tenure, he has changed not only the on-court product of the team but also tried to add his own brand of the the three “E’s” of “effort, energy, and enthusiasm” to the off-court culture by adopting things such as his father’s circus-style warm-up, locking arms during the post-game alma mater, and his version of Midnight Madness called Arch Madness.
This year, Musselman and staff brought back the second iteration of its version of Midnight Madness. With the intrigue of defending their Mountain West Championships and having a new coach for the Women’s Basketball program in Amanda Levens, fans flocked to the outdoor court that resided adjacent to the Reno Arch.
The night was kicked off with the Women’s Basketball team hosting a children’s skills clinic beginning at 6 p.m. Participating kids were invited to go on the temporary court and were taught the basic fundamentals of dribbling, passing, footwork, and shooting.
Following the clinic, the women’s team continued their engagement of the fans by having a shooting skills competition wherein players teamed up with select spectators to try and shoot from different spots on the court.
At around 6:45 p.m., the men’s team was introduced one-by-one, tossing out t-shirts to the crowd as each player was called by the announcer. One new
addition to this year is the coordinated dance routine with the Nevada Cheer team.
After the dance, the Wolf Pack followed it up with the three-point competition, with participants, Charlie Tooley, Caleb Martin, Darien Williams, Hallice Cooke, Josh Hall, Kendall Stephens, Corey Henson, and John Jones.
Each participant had a minute to shoot as many baskets as they could from long range. However, the cold temperature and slight breeze affected most players’ shots in the opening round. The sophomore, Hall, garnered the high score in the first round.
However, in the second round, Tooley caught fire and swished 17 shots. He had seven shots separation from the next highest scorer, Martin, who had 11 makes.
Those two advanced to the final round, wherein Tooley, the second-year preferred walk-on, eeked out a close victory against the transferee, Martin.
The main event of the night, the dunk contest, pitted Treshawn Thurman, Jordan Caroline, and Nisre Zouzoua against one another.
In the first round, Thurman scored a 33 out of 40 with his one-handed tomahawk dunk off the backboard.
Caroline, last year’s runner up to high-flying Cameron Oliver, got a score of 37 out of 40 for an off the backboard windmill slam.
Zouzoua struggled to wow the crowd as he was only able to pull off a two-handed hammer and only amassing 23 points.
In the championship round, Thurman failed to connect on any dunks as he was trying to pull off a flashy between the legs dunk.
Caroline sealed the victory with a 360-degree one-handed slam and a dunk that was thrown off the backboard by teammate Lindsey Drew which Caroline caught with one hand and slammed through the hoop. The dunk received plenty of applause from the crowd and capped the successful event.
Last year, the Wolf Pack integrated Arch Madness as part of the football program’s homecoming festivities. Perfect weather and the intrigue of a new event drew a large crowd. This year, following the success of the basketball team’s NCAA Tournament appearance, Arch Madness became the headliner and the parade its undercard. As the Wolf Pack
begin a new season, Arch Madness was an appetizer for what they hope they can turn into March Madness later in the season.