Hoop-la a Substitute for Madness
by Nicholas Lozito
While their was no madness in Sacramento this October, there was hoop-la.
Sacramento State’s Midnight Madness was cancelled when two of the slam dunk participants — Jameel Pugh and Joel Jones — were unable to participate. Pugh, a University of Massachusetts transfer, is nursing a knee injury, while Jones can’t take the court due to academic ineligibility.
The dunk contest was highly anticipated, with Pugh being ranked the No. 33 dunker of all time and Jones finishing second in the Puerto Rican Superior League’s all-star dunk contest over the summer.
While the dunk contest wasn’t scheduled to be the only event at the Midnight Madness, it’s absence would have displeased many fans. So instead of madness in mid-October, Hornet fans settled for hoop-la on October 26, Hornet Hoop-La. The event, which was open to the public, consisted of a youth basketball clinic and an inter-squad scrimmage.
David Joiner, Leo Cravey and Jones were forced to sit out the scrimmage due to academic ineligibility. Joseth Dawson, while also academically ineligible to play, is allowed to practice with the team. Cravey, Dawson and Joiner will rejoin the team after the fall semester, granted their fall semester grades meet NCAA requirements. Jones will redshirt the entire season.
Freshman point guard Deshawn Freeman sat out the scrimmage with a pulled groin. Freeman is expected to compete with senior Rashaad Hooks for the starting spot. Freeman will return to practice this week, and should be in full strength for the Hornets season opener.
Of the Hornets who played, junior shooting guard Brandon Guyton, senior forward Derek Lambeth and Hooks looked the most impressive. Guyton, who red shirted last season, will be the team’s purest shooter from outside.
Junior college transfer Emir Medunjanin was very inconsistent, and showed he needs a lot of work on the defensive end. The junior does have a solid outside game, and great size (6-foot-6) for a guard.
6-foot-10 center Djibril Diop looked very raw, but athletic. The center lost his dribble on a wide-open fast break, but showed the quickness and athleticism to become one of the better big men in the conference.
If anyone cares, the scrimmage ended with a Gold Team victory. Players switched teams in the middle of the game, the score is pretty insignificant.