October 18, 2010
Midnight Madness produces some memorable moments each season, so the Dagger is handing out some awards to commemorate the best from Friday's lineup. If you have suggestions on stuff we missed, let us know here or here.
BEST PLAYER INTRO: ENES KANTER, KENTUCKY
Already a fan favorite at Kentucky even though there's a chance he won't play this season as a result of accepting extra benefits, Kanter brought the house down at Big Blue Madness when he came out to The Undertaker's entrance music. Kanter, who idolizes the Undertaker and has adopted the nickname "The UnderKanter," emerged from the tunnel wearing his favorite wrestler's trademark black hat.
MOST RIDICULOUS COSTUME: BILL SELF, KANSAS
Sorry, Tom Izzo. In most years, you own this category, but Self's Vanilla Ice look has your spacesuit beat this time. Clad in a backwards cap, shades, gold chains and a matching silk shirt and pants, Self introduces a skit performed by Thomas Robinson, Elijah Johnson, the Morris twins and Travis Releford mimicking the group "New Edition."
MOST CLEVER RECRUITING TACTIC: MEMPHIS' PENNY HARDAWAY VIDEO
Memphis couldn't mention elite recruit Adonis Thomas' name at Memphis Madness without committing a violation, so the Tigers found another slightly more subtle way to deliver a message to their top recruit. They showed a video in which Penny Hardaway reflects on why playing at his hometown school was the right decision for him, punctuating the message to Thomas with Hardaway's statement "You can make a difference by staying home."
BEST CELEBRITY CAMEO APPEARANCE: GERARD BUTLER
Hands down, this category belongs to Butler at Michigan State. The star of the movie Spartans-themed movie 300 returned to pump up the Michigan State crowd ... and apparently Tom Izzo too. Check out Izzo's giddy reaction in the above video as Butler leads the crowd through a handful of cheers.
BEST EX-PLAYER APPEARANCE: SCOT POLLARD, KANSAS
God Shammgod showing up at Providence was very cool, but Pollard takes this category with his appearance and his trash talk. Clad in a sleeveless black tuxedo T-shirt, the bearded Pollard questioned why Kansas State was picked ahead of Kansas in the Big 12 preseason poll, noting that the Jayhawks won the league by four games last season and have won at least a share of the past six Big 12 titles.
BEST CHOREOGRAPHED TEAM DANCE: NORTH CAROLINA
Does Roy Williams secretly wish he were a dance instructor? This is at least the third or fourth year in a row that Late Night with Roy has featured a team dance number performed by the Tar Heels. The Dougie was easily the most popular dance at Midnight Madness this season, and North Carolina at least gave it a semi-unique twist by performing "Teach me how to Snuggie" instead.
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A DUNK CONTEST: KEION BELL, PEPPERDINE
I wrote about Bell dunking over seven people this morning, but that may not even have been the high-flying Pepperdine guard's best slam. I'm partial to the third dunk in the above video, which is fittingly punctuated by the ball bouncing off the top of Bell's head. Needless to say, he won Pepperdine's dunk contest by a landslide.
MOST UNLIKELY MIDNIGHT MADNESS: CAL TECH
Cal Tech's men's basketball program has not won a conference game in 25 years, yet the school held its first-ever Midnight Madness on Friday night. Funniest part of Bill Plaschke's column on the event in the Los Angeles Times: The reward for a fan hitting a half-court shot was a basketball signed by five Nobel Prize-winning professors at the school.