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Hoops mania takes center court

Anyone wondering where Midnight Madness went? Well, no worries: it never left. At 8 p.m. on Oct. 24, Hoops Mania took center court, drawing all Eastern students far and wide to meet the ’08-’09 roster of the basketball teams and cheerleading squad.

After starting the night with an opening prayer, Eastern’s faculty got together to play a game that – for the most part – stayed friendly. The cheerleaders then performed a music routine to lead into a series of prize-awarding games. With a relay race, a 3-point contest and two opportunities to win $10,000, there weren’t many people who left without a t-shirt as a prize.

Then the moment arrived: the introduction of the teams. The cheerleaders were introduced first, warming up the crowd with some cheers and getting them psyched. The women’s and men’s basketball team members ran out from the rec gym, first-year to senior, amidst cheers from the excited crowd. The night was rounded out with a good-natured slam dunk contest for the men’s basketball team and free pizza for all.

Head coaches for the men’s and women’s basketball team, Matt Nadelhoffer and Katie Levis respectively, agreed whole-heartedly on the goal of Hoops Mania: to kick off the season and get Eastern excited for the games to come.

“It’s a nice way to get the players excited for the season and reward them for their hard work,” Levis said.

As to the name change, Nadelhoffer said that the name “Midnight Madness” would not work for an event that’s not being held at midnight, like in previous years. “Some people couldn’t make it at midnight, so we moved the time to allow those people to come,” Nadelhoffer said.

The name isn’t the only thing that has changed: Eastern is now in the MAC and has many new challenges to face. But Levis, who now has a full-bench of players on her team, is excited for the upcoming season.

“The returning players have set the tone for the practices,” Levis said. “We’re just trying to put all the pieces together.”

Nadelhoffer has a team of 18 players, 11 of which are new, resulting in a team that’s young in experience. For him, the MAC holds a lot of unknowns, and he is unsure what will happen in the conference.

“We have lots of enthusiasm, but we’re young too,” Nadelhoffer said.

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