The University of Maine basketball teams got their season off to a start with Shoot, Slam and Shuffle on Friday night at the New Balance Student Recreation Center. This event was open to the public and showcased the 2012-13 men’s and women’s teams in a scrimmage, dunk contest and knock-out competition.
Associate Athletic Director for External Operations Joe Roberts mentioned that Theta Chi came up to the athletics department and met with EJ Roach of Campus and Student Engagement to help combine student engagement activities with the athletic department.
“[Theta Chi] came to the table and said the just wanted to do this event. EJ Roach is on our student engagement group, and he reached out and said, ‘Hey, we are doing this other event. How can we combine them?’ It’s a part of [what UMaine] president [Paul Ferguson’s] Blue Sky plan and student engagement plan is about — about [the athletics department and students] working together,” Roberts said. “We have a lot more meeting with athletics and students to find out what we are working on and what they are working on. We can combine events when we can to make a more captive audience for events and to get more student engagement.”
“I got to talk to EJ Roach, and he pulled some strings,” said Theta Chi’s representative. “I was sitting at a conference with Joseph Roberts, and we were able to have our knockout competition to kick things off. We were very happy that the UMaine women’s and men’s basketball team was able to help us out as well.”
After the knockout game, the teams came onto the court. Players from the men’s and women’s teams were introduced, one-by-one. This kind of event has been done in the past and was brought back this year by men’s basketball head coach Ted Woodward. Some basketball programs have a midnight madness rally to mark the beginning of the year, and Woodward wanted to start a similar tradition at UMaine, according to Roberts.
“It was probably coach Woodward’s idea more than anyone else,” Roberts said. “We’ve done this sort of thing in other years and haven’t done it in a couple of years, and coach Woodward came in and said, ‘Hey, lets do a midnight madness practice event.’ We immediately knew we weren’t going to do it at midnight, and we just had to figure out exactly what we were going to do,” Roberts said. “We spent a lot of time talking to the coaches, and talked a little bit to the [Residence Life] folks and formulated a plan and came up with this event.”
After introductions, the players got a chance to show off their skills. Sophomore guard Justin Edwards put on a show in the dunk contest. Afterward, the teams showed off their shooting skills in a shooting competition and then entertained the crowd with some of their dance moves in a dance-off. The players seemed to have a good time.
“It should be fun. We’ve got a good thing going one, we have a lot of support,” said senior center Mike Allison. “I was looking forward to the pizza. The dunk contest should be good too.”
“Yeah, I was kind of excited because I knew it would be fun for our team to do,” said senior forward Corinne Wellington. “We started to practice for it in advance. The shooting contest and dunk contest will be good.”
The men’s basketball team gets their season tipped off later in the month with a home matchup against Université Laval at noon Oct. 27. The women get started at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 against University of New Brunswick.