The Charlotte 49ers basketball season unofficially began last night with the annual "Madness" event. Around 2,500 students rushed through the gate at 8:45pm as they scurried to grab the best available seat. A few minutes later the lights dropped, the fog began to roll and the booming bass from Kid Rock's Bawitdaba sent shock waves through the crowd. At that time Niner Nation was introduced to a more bulkier, heartier, and meaner looking Norm the Niner. The new Norm would be just the beginning of fresh faces and new releases.
Soon after Norm made a few laps around the court the mass was treated to a Brad Lambert pep talk and the all too familiar question "Are you ready for some football?" but he later turned the night over to the basketball programs and hosts, Ross Steedley and Garrett Bedenbaugh.
Once the player introductions were over and the Gold Dusters finished their tease, the real show began with a teamed skills competition, a friendly match of 49er inspired HORSE between the men and women (thankfully there was a time limit), and the night concluded with some monster jams from dunk specialists Terrance Williams , Javarris Barnett and DeMario Mayfield.
Madness also included visits from several high-ranking recruits, including :
• Shawn Lester*
• Julius Hamilton
• Ivan Benkovic**
"I really enjoyed myself," West said. "The whole college atmosphere was great."
West said Charlotte is close to offering, along with LSU.
He's hoping to take a visit to Wichita State soon.
"I liked it a lot, it was a great experience," Gladden said.
• Cara Consuegra, Charlotte's new women's coach, made her "Madness" debut
• Both Men's and Women's uniforms looked clean and fresh, especially the green the men were wearing
• Freshman on both sides seemed confident and poised. E. Victor Nickerson, Mike Thorne, and Terrence Williams had major swagger and displayed a boost in athleticism.
• Game-day T-shirts were announced - "We Are Charlotte"
• Dunks put on by Williams and Barnett were electric. Barnett's first dunk literally won him the competition, when he caught a ball from a soccer style rainbow flip kick and hammered the dunk down
*Committed to Charlotte.
**Committed to High Point University