Midnight Magic of UC Irvine
by Shaan Hassan
Most parents believe nothing good happens at night. But to college students, thatâ€™s when the funâ€™s just getting started.
The fun began for the basketball fans of UC Irvine Oct. 11 at the Bren Events Center for Midnight Magic at 10:30 p.m. Free food and t-shirts were given to the first 1,000 people who made their way over Friday night to see the introduction of the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s basketball teams of UC Irvine.
The free giveaways were accompanied by hip-hop music played by a DJ and a room full of dancing, crazed students, freshmen and seniors alike. It was a packed crowd, making it nearly impossible to get from one point to the next without bumping into someone.
At 11:30 p.m. the doors to the basketball arena opened as over 1,000 people tried cramming though just two open doors with the band playing. Among those in attendance was the menâ€™s volleyball team, dressed in spectacular attire consisting of mostly â€˜60s outfits. Fifteen minutes later a video presentation of â€œAustin Powersâ€ featuring UCI students was played, which led its way into the introduction of the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s basketball teams.
Both coaches came out, first Mark Adams of the womenâ€™s team and then Pat Douglass of the menâ€™s team as they expressed their gratitude for the studentsâ€™ support and their hopes for the new season.
The lights dimmed and the two teams were introduced, switching between players of each team. The only injury of note is star forward Jordan Harris of the menâ€™s team who is wearing a knee brace after surgery in the summer.
Both teams then took part in lay-up drills, with occasional rim-rattling, crowd-stirring dunks from the menâ€™s teamâ€¦a hint of what was to be expected minutes later.
But before the dunk contest, there was a three-point competition between the two teams, as the women beat their counterparts 34-26, for the first time since the beginning of UCIâ€™s Midnight Magic.
Then the slam dunk contest finally began and forward Matt Okoro, who was last yearâ€™s runner-up in the event, showed off an amazing 360-degree dunk bringing the crowd to its feet.
But not to be forgotten was Jarett Jensenâ€”of the menâ€™s volleyball team. Sporting a hairband and short, white shorts that would make a woman on the streets proud, Jensen rose up and threw down a one-handed dunk bringing the crowd to an uproar as he was quickly mobbed by his teammates.
Guard Mike Efevberha then had his turn as seconds before his dunk, he pulled his shirt over his head and slammed the ball through.
But the night was to be Okoroâ€™s. Guard DeVaughn Peace walked onto the court, but only to serve as a prop as he also brought out a chair.
With Peace placed in the chair and the crowd giving a standing ovation, Okoro raced to and over Peace and threw down the dunk with room to spare.
The crowd never had to sit back down as that finished the night for the fans and both teams.
With most parents sound asleep by then, the students of UCI had some fun Friday night.