Video and slideshow by Josh Brown
By Josh Brown, Sports Editor
The word “madness” in the basketball sports world is often synonymous with a hyped-up college sports event. In college basketball, March Madness takes place every year, which is the NCAA championship tournament. Often, teams have a preseason event to get fans pumped up that will usually have the word madness in it. The Bulldogs basketball team does a similar event, and Oct. 22 highlighted the night of Union’s annual Bulldog Madness.
Every year this event is held before the start of the basketball season for fans and the community to come and get excited about the women and men’s upcoming seasons. The night began with a cheer from this year’s new cheerleading squad as well as introductions of the men’s and women’s teams, followed by scrimmages among the teams.
The main events were the hot-shot contest, three-point shootout and a dunk contest, in which students got to participate. This year, there were about three student contestants per contest, with the exception of the dunk contest which was between the players of the basketball team and one student as well.
All the student contestants said they enjoyed Bulldog Madness and getting a chance to go out with the players and compete in the events.
“I enjoyed it because I played basketball in high school,” said Erin Spencer, senior biology major. “You get to appreciate the pressure the basketball players face everytime they go out there. I was a little nervous at first.”
Spencer sank 10 three-pointers in just one minute to take first place in the women’s three-point contest. Emily Russell, freshman psychology major, won the women’s hot-shot contest with 16 shots made.
On the men’s side, Brady Sheppard, junior engineering major, placed first in the three-point contest with 14 made three pointers while Brett Barry, junior sports management major, took first place honors in the men’s hot-shot contest with nine made shots.
This year’s Bulldog Madness drew a crowd of students and fans in the community that several contestants said seemed to be excited about the upcoming basketball season.
“It is hard to be excited about dedicating yourself to a sport if no one is going to come support you and build you up,” Spencer said. “The crowd was the best I have seen in the four years I’ve been here. Everybody was really into the competitions.”
Barry added the fans are not the only ones who get into the festivities, but Bulldog Madness is an exciting time for the players as well, and their talent was displayed in the event.
“This year the players seemed to be more excited than in the past,” Barry said. “In the introductions, the players were going nuts, which was fun to see. The guys scrimmage was fantastic and really showcased their strengths, and that made me excited to get ready to watch them this season.”