Midnight Madness coming to Brownson

A couple of things you won’t see Tuesday night during Midnight Madness at Brownson Arena:

•   High-flying dunks.

“I told them we’ve only got two guys on the whole team who can dunk. One of them blew out his knee the first day of school and the other hurt his ankle and won’t be there,” Mesa State men’s basketball coach Jim Heaps said, laughing.

•   Heaps.

“Andy’s got ’em,” he said of his associate head coach, Andy Shantz. “He’s a late-night guy. I’ve got an 8 a.m. class and practice at 4:30 on Wednesday. I probably won’t be at Midnight Madness. It might not be quite as mad without me, though.”

Heaps, especially this time of year, hits the hay even before the news comes on.

Women’s coach Timi Brown, too, is rarely awake at midnight, but since this was her idea ...

“I’m gonna take a nap,” she said. “I’ll be there.”

The Mavs’ Midnight Madness, the first one since the 1988-89 season, begins at 10:30 p.m. at Brownson with several contests for students to win prizes.

One student will win a tuition and fees scholarship for the spring semester if he or she can hit a half-court shot.

The winner of a musical layup contest will take home a Zune MP3 player, the residence hall that shows the most spirit will win a pizza party, and the first 250 fans will receive a 6th Man T-shirt.

The teams will be introduced at midnight, the earliest time allowed by NCAA rules they can have an official “practice.”

Both teams have had conditioning sessions and doing small-group workouts since classes began, and they’re ready to get on the floor for real. Those workout sessions are over, and the players had the
weekend off for fall break, their last free weekend until March.

Brown, who played at the University of Arizona and was part of the late-night craze in Tucson, wanted to bring a little bit of that excitement to Mesa.

“It’s more about getting the student body excited about basketball season,” she said. “We’re always trying to increase our school spirit and it’s big in other parts of the country. It’s always been part of my basketball life so I wanted to get something going.”

She brought up the idea to her players, who were all for it. Then they went to work getting the men’s team on board.

“I know a lot of Division I schools do midnight madness,” senior post player Stephanie Delgado said. “I didn’t really know much about it before Coach Brown said something to us. I’m really excited.”

Because both basketball teams have had conditioning workouts in the early morning hours, they’re used to going to bed early and getting up even earlier.

“I’m so used to getting up at 5:30, I’m in bed by 10,” Delgado said. “We have to be there by
10:30, so I don’t know ... I may need some coffee. I think I’ll be too exited to be tired.

“We’ve got practice (Wednesday afternoon) at 2:30 and I don’t have class until 10 (Wednesday morning), so that’s not bad. I was telling one of my teachers, ‘We’ve got Midnight Madness, you can come and you can be just as tired as I am.’ ”

It won’t be a full practice the fans see by any means, just some fun to stir up some excitement about the season.

“The basketball part of it is very limited, because we don’t want to get anybody hurt,” Brown said.

“They’ll be helping us out with the contests for the students, throwing T-shirts into the stands.

“We’ll probably do an interactive shooting contest, but in terms of the teams, that’s it. We’re not even going to try a dunk contest because I don’t want to get the guys hurt.”

“Maybe some layup lines,” Heaps dead-panned. “Right-handed layups.”

Justin Ashbaugh, the Mavs’ leading scorer and rebounder from last season, had ACL knee surgery two weeks ago and is out for the season. Heaps is hoping the 6-foot-5 senior forward will receive a medical hardship ruling and be able to play next season.

“He walked into the rec center the first day of school and got into a pickup game,” Heaps said. “Maybe three or four minutes in, he tore his ACL.”

Mike Bear, a 6-foot-7 redshirt freshman post player from Delta, has an ankle injury and isn’t cleared to practice.

So much for the dunk contest.

“Maybe (Kurt) Bangle can throw (Ryan) Mortensen up in the air,” Heaps said of the Mavs’ 6-8 center and 5-10 guard teaming up for some acrobatics. “One of them suggested a springboard, but I told them we’re not used to being up that high.”

So maybe a song and dance number like many of the Division I teams do during their late night events?

“They’d be better at that than dunking,” Heaps said.


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