Basketball teams, fans prep for season with showcase

Doug Gulasy

Kent State students will have an opportunity to see the men’s and women’s basketball teams in action before they play their first games.

A Kent State basketball showcase is being held tomorrow from 8:30 to 10 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center, and the athletic department hopes to see plenty of students in the stands.

“This university prides itself on ‘Excellence in Action,'” Associate Athletic Director Pete Mahoney said. “(Students should) come out and experience ‘Excellence in Action’ on the basketball court.”

Mahoney said the event targets students because the athletic department wants to “make our sports program a student body sports program.”

“To get attendance and build attendance, we need to start with our student body,” he said. “…You start from within and you build it outward. The support that our student body has given us through the years has been tremendous.

“We really want to get this team familiar with our student body and our student body familiar with them. We want to build a bond there with our student body and these teams.”

Zachary Svette, senior recreation management major, and his group from Event Planning and Production class have been working on the basketball showcase since the beginning of September, in collaboration with the athletic department.

“The event timeline, our class came up with,” said Svette, who serves as the group’s event manager. He added that the athletic department provided the financial resources for the showcase.

After fans enter the arena, highlight videos from last season will be shown and the teams will be introduced before they go through drills. The men’s team will hold a dunking contest.

Those in attendance will have the opportunity to win a variety of prizes throughout the evening.

Fans can enter a drawing as they enter the M.A.C. Center for the grand prize, two tickets to the men’s game at North Carolina on Jan. 2.

Other prizes include an iPod, an Xbox 360, a party for 16 (one winner and 15 of his or her friends) at the Rathskeller. Another winner could win one pizza a week for a year from Hungry Howie’s Pizza.

Fans can win these prizes through various competitions, such as Around the World, Knockout and a 10-point shootout where one male and one female fan team up with a member of the basketball team of the opposite sex.

One unique prize will be the “ultimate sack,” which Svette described as a “really, really, really big bean-bag chair,” on which three or four people could fit.

Svette said the most spirited fan in attendance would win the ultimate sack.

“We’re going to have a spirit contest for the top four (fans) that we deem to be the most spirited,” he said. “

Still, Mahoney said the motivation for the event is about familiarizing the student body with the “new faces” on both the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

“It’s a matter of introduction, a prelude of what’s to come in the season – kind of a sneak preview for the student body,” he said. “I think it’s something for them to get really excited about; I think it’s something for them to come be a part of.”

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Doug Gulasy at [email protected]