Basketball To Let It Rock
At the stroke of midnight on Oct. 15, the UC Irvine Men’s and Women’s basketball teams will embark upon a journey that has been long anticipated by the ’Eater Nation community. Midnight Magic, which occurs in conjunction with ASUCI’s annual Shocktoberfest, is a long running tradition that celebrates the first official day of practice allowed by the NCAA for collegiate basketball.
Both teams will be given the opportunity to “eatertain” the UCI student body as they showcase their skills in a three-point shootout and the highly acclaimed dunk contest. The recent addition of head coach Russell Turner, who comes to UCI with a resume that includes NBA and Pac-10 experience, has created a buzz around the basketball program that can be felt all through campus. Maintaining this hype and ensuring that the teams get the media attention they deserve is a task that Sports Marketing is taking very seriously.
Nick Coromelas, assistant marketing director, serves as the liaison between students and athletics to make sure everyone is well aware of what sporting events will take place and what the campus should expect. Through emails, Facebook messages and other forms of social marketing, Coromelas and his crew are ready to rekindle the high level of school spirit that lies deep within the students.
“I think students know that something big is happening with athletics and they are going to be a part of it,” Coromelas said. “The sports marketing team really wants to make people aware of what’s going on. This is their school and all that goes on around athletics is for them.”
Midnight Magic will be the first setting in which the athletes and the sports marketing committee can set the tone for UCI basketball. With capacity crowds of 5,500 in years past, most students are not aware of the basketball introductions that precede the concert. Midnight Magic is often lost in the commotion that surrounds the performances. But senior guard and captain of the men’s team Patrick Rembert has a good feeling about this year.
“Everyone is really energized about this new season,” Rembert said. “We are definitely more student oriented this year than we were last year. Last year it was mainly about the basketball, but there is more to it than that.”
As far as witnessing the increase of school spirit this year as opposed to years past, Rembert can feel the shift.
“Everybody is just upbeat about this season,” Rembert said. “They are asking us when the games are and who we are playing. We are also going out to every game, whether its soccer, volleyball or water polo, we are just trying to get the school spirit up throughout the entire athletics department.”
The dunk contest and three-point shootout are definitely something that will get the Bren Events Center crowd on their feet, explained Rembert, and there are already some friendly bets and trash talking going on between the men’s and women’s sides.
As far as who will win the shootout, Rembert doesn’t know who will win, but he is pulling for senior guard Darren Moore to defend his Dunk Contest title from last year.
“We have something up our sleeve that I think the fans will appreciate,” Rembert said.