Some people just can’t wait until Nov. 15 to kick off another basketball season.
That’s precisely why the student organization Tribal Fever hosted the first-ever “Tribal Tip-Off” in Kaplan Arena Friday night. The event included player introductions, shooting competitions, performances by the
Tribal dancers and cheerleaders and a dunking competition.
“It was meant to get the school hyped up for the season,” Tribal Fever President Chase Hathaway ’10 said.
“We have two great teams, and we want the students to get excited.”
The captain of the men’s team, senior David Schneider, helped plan the event to show students how competitive it can be out on the court.
“[The basketball program] is on the rise,” Schneider said. “We can win the CAA championship.”
His Head Coach, Tony Shaver, agreed.
“I feel really good about the team this year,” he said. “We were a little disappointed last season, but we can come out and have a great year.”
The event officially began with the first women’s and men’s basketball practices of the year, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Students and parents began trickling in around 7:30 p.m. to grab seats for the main event, which began at 8 p.m.
Even College President Taylor Reveley made it out to William and Mary Hall, despite the rainy and cold evening, to support the athletic program.
“We have two really good teams this year,” Reveley said. “I’ll be trying to come to as many of the games as I can.”
Shaver opened the program by thanking students for coming and encouraging them to support the team throughout their CAA and non-confernce seasons.
“It helps to have a rowdy arena,” he said. “We really appreciate support.”
The opening remarks were followed by two shooting competitions: one from behind the three-point arc and one from half court. Winners were awarded prizes from Tip-Off sponsors Aberdeen Barn, ZPizza, Buffalo Wild Wings and Red City Buffet. Free goodies such as cups, T-shirts and hats were tossed into the audience between activities. Later, the Tribal dancers and cheerleaders performed and Hathaway led the crowd through some cheers.
But the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the slam dunk competition.
Senior Danny Sumner started things off with a stylish slam after he bounced the ball in front of himself on his approach to the hoop. The panel of judges awarded him a score of 67 out of 70, which proved to be the top score of the first round. Freshman Kyle Gaillard followed by throwing down a two-handed dunk behind his head for 61 points. Sophomore Kendrix Brown earned himself a spot in the final round with a slick windmill jam. Meanwhile, junior Matt McFadden made a surprise entrance from the locker room dressed as the Burger King. Despite a showy leaping slam, he fell 0.7 shy of Brown’s score of 65.
Brown and Sumner advanced, but the final round belonged to Brown. He stunned the senior favorite by bouncing the ball off the backboard and slamming it down with authority to roaring applause.
“We thought Danny had it,” Shaver said. “Kendrix surprised us all.”
Even Reveley agreed that the dunk was the highlight of the night.
The women’s season opens Nov. 15 at home against Radford. The men have their home opener Nov. 19 against Richmond.