Oct. 13, 2014

Brandon Applehans
bappleha@uccs.edu

Practice at midnight seems unorthodox, unless you are a member of the UCCS basketball teams.

Midnight Madness, the kickoff to the new season, is here and that means a slam-dunk contest, prizes and a preview of this season’s hoops teams.

The women’s team, led by last season’s Daktronics All-Region selection Abby Kirchoff, will look to hype the crowd in a shooting clinic. Crowd involvement will be needed, so fans with a jump shot should be prepared to step forward.

“Midnight Madness starts off the season right while getting the UCCS students involved with the men’s and women’s basketball program,” said Kirchoff. “We really appreciate all the support from the students and our fans.”

The men’s team will make an appearance with a handful of guests in the slam-dunk contest. This event is closed to audience members.

Last season the men’s team was led by the sophomore duo of Derrick White and Alex Welsh, who both averaged in the top 15 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference scoring. team finished 21-9, earning a birth in the NCAA tournament. The team is ranked 17th in the country coming in to the 2014-15 season. The two juniors are ready to see the atmosphere at Midnight Madness.

“The crowd and the atmosphere are easily the best part,” said White. “It’s always fun to watch the dunk contest and the other games we having going on. There’s a chance I will be in the dunk contest but I haven’t decided yet.”

“It’s crazy to think it’s my third season, I feel like time is flying,” added Welsh. “The best part about the night is seeing all the people in the crowd and getting everyone excited for the year.”

This will be the first Midnight Madness for women’s basketball coach Shawn Nelson, who begins his first season at the helm.

“I’m looking forward to the crowd and the fans,” said Nelson. “People like basketball here. It’ll be exciting to see the men’s and women’s team and start to get those butterflies out.” Joining Nelson will be men’s basketball coach Jeff Culver.

“It’s a great opportunity for the new students to get a glimpse of the product that we have as well as the student-athletes representing the university,” said Culver.

“The best part about the night is getting the gym filled with a bunch of basketball fans and having fun. The energy from the students is by far the best.”

Following the event, the men’s team will begin their midnight practice.

Midnight Madness begins at 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 14.