Humphrey Coliseum was packed Friday night for Mississippi State’s annual pep rally for its men and women’s basketball teams, Maroon Madness. Among the events scheduled were a three-point contest, three performances by iLuminate (a dancing team featured on America’s Got Talent), a scrimmage by the women’s team, a slam dunk competition, and a “Hot Shot” challenge.
Before the event started, the crowd was entertained by a Greek 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Lambda Chi Alpha defeated Kappa Alpha in the finals. As a reward, the Lambda Chi team won the opportunity to participate in the Hot Shot contest, as well as judge the slam dunk contest.
After an initial performance by iLuminate (left), each member of the women’s basketball team was introduced. Some of the most popular players were Teaira McCowan, Victoria Vivians, and Morgan William (right). All of them started in last season’s upset of UConn in the Final Four. One player, Jacaira Allen, had clearly injured her left leg, which was in a cast.
The men’s basketball team was introduced after another dance by iLuminate. Both Nick and Quinndary Weatherspoon (left) enjoyed a warm reception, as did All-SEC freshman Lamar Peters. Perhaps the player with the most amusing introduction was sophomore Schnider Herard, who wore a hockey mask onto the stage (right).
Next was the Hot Shot contest, in which a team of three had to shoot from various spots on the court to score points in under a minute. Each team was composed of one men’s player, one women’s player, and one member of Lambda Chi’s team. Freshman Chloe Bibby and Xavian Stapleton led their team to victory.
Following that was a scrimmage between the women’s team. Three teams – Maroon, White, and Black – played, with two teams on the court at a time. Whichever team scored stayed on, while the other team switched out with the team on the sideline. On the whole, the team appeared coordinated and eager to begin the season.
The penultimate event was the three-point shootout. Quinndary Weatherspoon, Tyson Carter, Drew Davis, and Aric Holman competed in the men’s challenge, while Blair Schaefer, Roshunda Johnson, Victoria Vivians, and Morgan William shot in the women’s challenge. Fan favorites Weatherspoon and Vivians (right) won their respective challenges.
The final performance, the slam dunk contest, was also the most anticipated. Eli Wright, Nick Weatherspoon, Nick Singleton, and Xavian Stapleton each tried to show the judges (baseball coach Andy Cannizaro, softball coach Vann Studeman, and Lambda Chi’s basketball team) that they had the most awe-inspiring dunks. Both Weatherspoon and Stapleton made it through the first round with tens from the judges. On the other hand, Singleton attempted five dunks and missed all of them. In the finals, Weatherspoon laid down a vicious backhand slam to score tens across the board and claim his title. Stapleton’s two dunks are shown in the videos below.
Mississippi State’s Maroon Madness overall was a resounding success with a pretty strong crowd, and gave Mississippi State fans a great preview into what to expect for this upcoming basketball season.