Hoops Mania marks start of Madness

Courtney Scrib

In the world of college basketball, Christmas arrives two months early.

“I have been waiting since April for this!” exclaimed one Villanova alum about the much-anticipated 2005-06 basketball season.

Like children who anxiously await the arrival of Santa, tonight students, fans and the entire public will crowd into the Pavilion for the annual Hoops Mania event to finally have a chance to meet and see the Villanova’s men’s basketball team in action

While the hype for this year’s season began to build as soon as the 2004-05 team returned from the Sweet Sixteen, the actual planning process for Hoops Mania did not commence until August. After months of scheduling, coordinating and organizing, the countless hours of labor put in by many different groups of individuals will finally pay off.

“A lot of the reason why everyone is really excited about this season and Hoops Mania is obviously because of all of the hype surrounding the team,” Brain Papson, the Director of Sports Marketing and Special Events, said. “But what makes this team even more special is that everybody on it is a good guy. Not only are they great basketball players but they are also really great guys.”

With prizes, contests and special surprises, as well as the addition of the Blue/White Scrimmage, tonight’s event promises to be one of the most exciting nights the campus has yet to experience this year.

“I am definitely very excited about this year’s Hoops Mania and the start of the best time of the year,” junior and basketball fan Christine Davis said. “After being exposed to the whole country last year, the entire ‘Nova Nation is pumped for an awesome season. It will be great to show the team how much support and passion it has from its fans.”

The event officially starts at 7:30 p.m., but the doors of the Pavilion will open at 6:30 p.m. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Fans who come to the event will have an opportunity to win several great prizes, including a two-year lease on a 2006 Land Rover Sport, $50,000, books paid for by the Alumni Association and a free meal for second semester. In addition, there will be appearances by the football and women’s basketball teams, as well as a 15-minute public question and answer session with selected players and coaches following the event.

This year is the first year that Hoops Mania will be combined with the team’s annual Blue/White Scrimmage. Doing so gives more fans the opportunity to watch the players compete against one another and check out newest talent.

“I’m most looking forward to seeing the scrimmage and seeing how well the freshmen can play and the chemistry they have with the veterans,” junior John McGhee said.

Hoops Mania marks the beginning of a whole weekend of activities. On Saturday afternoon at the homecoming football game, Villanova will honor one of its most decorated athletes during a halftime ceremony. Philadelphia Eagle Brian Westbrook, who holds 41 school records, in addition to 19 Atlantic 10 conference and 5 NCAA records, will have his jersey retired.