Oct. 17, 2008
CURRY HICKS CAGE -
Welcome to the Klub Kellogg Live Blog! We are coming to you live from the Curry Hicks Cage as the UMass men's and women's basketball teams officially kick off the 100th season of UMass basketball with a dance club-themed party from the Cage.
If you can make it down to the Cage you should, if you can't, we'll be here to bring you all the happenings.
Don't forget everyone, Klub Kellogg reopens at 10 p.m. tonight for the dance party, right here at the Curry Hicks Cage!
The slam dunk contest champions - again - is Tony Gaffney. The 360 did it.
Derek Kellogg came out one last time to thank the crowd and now the cheerleaders are back on the court as we conclude the festivities.
The defending champ Gaffney goes 360 and it looks like he's the favorite to win again.
There's been a Guy Racine sighting on the UMass bench. Guy, the team's bus driver, is quite possibly the biggest UMass basketball fan there is.
Tony Gaffney's baseline-bounce-off-the-floor-reverse-jam has gotten the biggest crowd response so far.
Gibbs, Gaffney, and Wilcher move on to the finals.
How about the UMass field hockey and men's soccer teams! Both came away with bog A-10 wins today. Justine Sowry's #17 field hockey downed La Salle, 2-0, while Sam Koch's boys defeated St. Bonaventure, 4-1.
The dunk contest has begun.
David Gibbs started things off by jumping over Doug Wiggins and throwing it down.
The UMass Media Relations student interns, Alli Miller, Rachel Perreault, and Matt Houde, stroll in fashionably late, joining Justin Lafleur and a crowd that has the Cage almost filled.
After Benton/Harris put up 7, Danella/Bonner hit their first four shots and went on to take the 3-point shootout, 9-7.
A shoutout to UMass Concessions for providing water for everyone at tonight's event.
Benton and Harris heated it up in the overtime, nailing 12 3's.
Now its Benton/Harris vs. Danella/Bonner in the finals.
3-point shootout opening round (each team gets 30 seconds, one ball per player):
Zullo and Wiggins: 7
Danella and Bonner: 9
Benton and Harris: 7
Gerardot and Glass: 7
It's overtime to see who goes to the finals.
Matty G is keeping the crowd up as the shooters for the 3-point shootout warm-up.
I look across the court from me and see in the front row a student with an authentic Derek Kellogg #14 jersey from the '90's. It has the old curly "U" UMass logo and everything. Not sure where he scored that piece of Minutemen history.
The biggest roar and ovation from tonights energized crowd was saved for the introduction of tonight's host, new head coach Derek Kellogg. He entered from the top of the Cage stands and walked through the crowd to the court, where he took the microphone and spoke to the fans. He told the fans that he envisions a Mullins Center crowd "that no team wants to come play in." His words pumped out the crowd as he told the student body how important and how appreciated the students' presense at the games is.
The men's team is now warming up on the court.
Also planned for tonight is the ever-popular slam dunk contest.
Gaffney will be defending his slam dunk crown that he won at last year's Midnight Madness.
The men's team is now being introduced to a darkened Cage with flashing lights and each player's own intro music.
David Gibbs started things off by coming out to TI's "No Matter What". Doug Wiggins came out to Lil Wil's "My Dougie" and got a roar from the crowd for the dance moves he showed off. The senior Luke Bonner finished things off by entering to Jim Johnson and Chris Warren's "Are You Ready" as he he did his best WWE enterance.
The women's team has been introduced. Each player came out to their own music, everything from Valerie Avebe's Un Gaou A Oran to Stefanie Gerardot's Thunderstruck.
The "Dack Attack", the women's basketball team, is now being introduced one at a time under a spotlight where they meet at center court.
For tonight's 3-point shooting contest, members of the men's and women's team will be paired together as they shoot it out from behind the arc.
Megan Zullo and Doug Wiggins
Kristina Danella and Luke Bonner
Kim "The Bulldog" Benton and Ricky Harris
Stefanie "The Show" Gerardot and Matt Glass
The Cage has gone dark, as we await the intros of the basketball teams...
Now it's the UMass dance team's turn. They are currently shaking it to beats filling the Cage from the DJ booth set up at one end of the court.
The evenings events are officially beginning with a routine from the UMass cheerleading squad. The nearly 30-strong group is getting th crowd warmed up.
If you're not here yet, you still have time. The Cage is filling up with an energized crowd as emcee Matt Goldstein is conducting contests on the court where students are winning prizes.
One notable fan I saw on my way in, head coach Derek Kellogg's mother, who is wearing an authentic t-shirt from the final "Rage In The Cage" at the close of the 1993 season, when her son was starring at guard for the Minutemen.
The cheerleading and dance teams are also out on the court providing entertainment.