Hoops Mania full of change after Final Four



David Cassilo

Memories and mentions of last year’s Final Four run are still sprinkled throughout the Villanova campus. Tomorrow, students and fans will have one last chance to celebrate the remarkable season at Hoops Mania before turning the page to the 2009-’10 season.

With the success of last year’s team, an effort has been made to make this year’s Hoops Mania better than it has ever been before. As a result, two major changes were made to the event’s format. The first is that Advanced Staging Productions, rather than the University, will put on the evening’s events. Second, the Blue/White Scrimmage will no longer take place the night of Hoops Mania, but instead 15 minutes after the Homecoming football game on Saturday. The scrimmage will not require a ticket for admission.

The goal of both changes was to improve the experience for all Villanova fans, whether they were students, alumni or members of the community.

“Athletics wants Hoops Mania to focus on the student body,” said Dan Gelwicks, SGA president. “They also didn’t want to lose focus on the alumni and the community. They decided that there are a limited number of students who are there for the actual scrimmage because the event would run too long. So, the simplest idea was to separate the two events so everyone could enjoy.”

Although the scrimmage will no longer take place Friday night, Hoops Mania will still feature a casual pickup game between the players, Gelwicks says.

Along with the scrimmage, several other undisclosed aspects of previous years’ Hoops Mania have also been eliminated. The event should now run about two hours, with the doors of the Pavilion opening at 6 p.m. and the festivities starting at 7 p.m.

“We heard a lot of complaints in previous years that Hoops Mania was too long and had too many breaks,” Gelwicks said. “So instead they put together a smoother format.”

However, just because a few aspects of this year’s Hoops Mania have been eliminated does not mean that the evening will be lacking in surprises. Although details cannot be disclosed, Gelwicks says that there will be a tribute to last year’s Final Four team and other teams from years’ past.

There is also still expected to be a performer at Hoops Mania, as well. In previous years, artists such as Tony Yayo, 50 Cent, M.I.M.S. and T-Pain have appeared on the Pavilion floor.

Although the performances and hoopla surrounding the evening are the focus of campus gossip, Hoops Mania is still first and foremost about the basketball. Tomorrow night will be the first chance for most of the crowd to see this year’s team together.

Seven players from this year’s squad were a part of the Wildcats’ run to the Final Four a season ago, and Hoops Mania will once again give ‘Nova Nation a chance to applaud the accomplishments of Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, Antonio Pena, Reggie Redding, Jason Colenda and Russell Wooten.

The evening will also be the first chance that many of the fans are able to see the team’s new additions in action. These new additions are highlighted the much-heralded freshmen recruiting class of Isaiah Armwood, Dominic Cheek, Mouphtaou Yarou and Maalik Wayns. This year’s team will also feature the debuts of transfer Taylor King and redshirt freshman Maurice Sutton.

Both this season’s team and this year’s Hoops Mania have undergone a great deal of change from a year ago, and because of that change and uncertainty, the only thing left for fans are expectations.

Tomorrow ‘Nova Nation will see if Hoops Mania lives up to those expectations and hope its promising team does the same.

Tim Richer contributed reporting to this article.