I'm going to start by saying: it was Nikki Minaj. At least I can save you from the boredom of Hoops Mania.
Last night, Villanova's Hoops Mania attempted to energize students and recruits about the upcoming 2013-2014 season. There were a lot of bright lights, basketball, and cheering. But for the first time in my Hoops Mania career, I heard booing. From start to finish, Villanova put on a forced show last night. And they did it slowly.
The doors opened at 6:30, and students streamed into the building. In fact, so many came into the building that by 7:00, my lower level ticket magically transformed into an upper level ticket. I know I should have been there sooner, but a guy has to pregame. And I'm glad I did, because we sat through about an hour of proceedings before a basketball player was even sighted.
A 1987 basketball alum was chosen to speak to us during the wait. I did not catch his name because A) the nosebleeds are where noise goes to die, and B) no one cared about him. No disrespect, because he is clearly dedicated to the program and a part of our championship, but he was a terrible selection. An unknown role player from 25+ years ago was never going to land well with students.
Finally around 8:00 the basketball teams were introduced. They came out and had a dancing/singing competition, like every year. They held a 3 point contest, like every year. Dunk Contest. Ten minutes of scrimmage. In between everything, they pushed and delayed and stalled. Perhaps Nikki was late, but that doesn't make it palatable.
The only thing new was the DJ spinning music for about 20 minutes before Nikki came out. His call outs were... unconventional. He asked the crowd, "Who has listened to hip hop for longer than 5 years?!" To which, the crowd said, "...euhh?" He followed up with, "Who did you come here with?" Before I finished sounding the names of my compatriots, he had the audacity to interrupt: "Have you known them for more than 5 years?" Well no, we met in college. "Who here is old enough to drink liquor?" Everyone cheered. Well played guys, they'll never know.
Nikki Minaj was a cool artist to land. Color me impressed. But those thoughts dissipated when she starting doing things. She was lip-synching hard. Like, Milli Vanilli levels of it. And I left before she played Starships, so sing-alongs were out the window.
I admit the night was not a total failure. For the freshmen it must have been a blast; I received numerous "This is crazy!" texts from the Class of 2017. James Bell's alley-oop windmill in the dunk contest was incredible, and I think the streamers are a cool tradition. During the scrimmage I even caught myself screaming to my friends, "I'm so excited for the season!" Unfortunately those good parts don't outweigh the bad, because the bad parts took so damn long.
I will hold everyone over with some basketball tidbits:
- Josh Hart surprisingly looks ready to play. He was aggressive towards the rim and looks like the slasher we've been lacking. I don't want to overly hype him, but he was a stand out.
- Daniel Ochefu has definitely improved, but he showed nothing with his back to the basket. Time will show whether he developed post moves.
- Ryan Arcidiacono ran the offense well. Although Dylan Ennis is hurt, we're still in good hands.
- Darrun Hilliard has a nice touch. He had a three and a couple nice shots from the lane. He's in a position to score a lot this year.
As an aside, when are they going to stop bringing back Dominic Cheek? He was cancerous as a student; I don't understand why he is such an active alum. And Ennis should take some notes from Mariah Carey on sling bling.
Sorry for being bitter about this. I was really hoping for a better last Hoops Mania. Jay talked it up during Media Day too. At least the Blue & White game is today, and I'll have some better things to share after that. In the mean time enjoy Homecoming, folks. Don't forget the Blue & White game is at 4:00 after the football game.