Bison Madness was an electric introduction to what is in store for the Howard University men’s and women’s basketball squads this upcoming season.
The event took place during Howard’s homecoming week inside of Burr Gymnasium, with a sold-out crowd in attendance. A line to get in the gym stretched all the way to the university’s Cramton Auditorium, and built up anticipation for the madness in store.
Popular NBA shooting coach Lethal Shooter and J. Alphonse. Nicholson, an actor on the critically acclaimed show P Valley, hosted the exhibition.
The tone for the night was set by a performance from the Howard University Showtime Marching Band. Following the performance, selected raffle ticket holders would shoot a half-court shot for the chance to win $1,000.
Jacey Gray-Hall, a sophomore health science major and Spanish minor, had the opportunity to take her shot at the prize money. While she did not make the shot, she spoke about how exciting it felt to be in front of that huge crowd and still walk away with a prize.
“I sadly thought I was going to make the shot considering that I played basketball for 6 years,” Hall said. “Nonetheless it was fun and exhilarating to be down there! I don’t know how the athletes do it every week, because I was a little nervous myself. It was generous for Nike to still offer us shoes anyhow.”
Scrimmages featuring both teams would then take place with the women playing first. The scrimmages oozed a free-flowing, all-star game-like feel. Players on both teams were given the opportunity to show off their skills without having to worry about the game’s outcome for once.
Both basketball team scrimmages would be highly competitive, with the women showing their great fastbreak offense and the men putting on a dunk show throughout their scrimmage, which excited the crowd.
Dominick Campbell, a forward on the men’s team, appreciated the support the team could get, especially because it is his first year at Howard after transferring from the University of Notre Dame. “I had never experienced something like that before. It is so much different from my previous schools. The support for the team and the school is really something special,” Campbell said.
Following the scrimmage a three-point contest commenced to close off activities for the night. Men and women basketball players were split into two teams, and a couple more raffle ticket holders got the chance to participate as well.
It was not a traditional three-point contest, however, with each participant needing to shoot from one spot for the team to win. Lethal Shooter gave tips to the players, which helped during the contest.
Aj Magbegor, a freshman forward for the Howard men’s basketball team, spoke about his experience at Bison Madness, being able to play in front of fans for the first time while also getting some free tips from Lethal Shooter in the process.
“I was pretty nervous at first, especially hearing and seeing how live and packed Burr was with the big crowds and long queues,” Magbegor said. “But once I heard my name get announced and got out there, the crowd that I was initially nervous about was really just Bison fans who showed a whole lot of love and made (my) first Bison Madness experience one that I won’t forget.”
Both teams will be back in Burr before the regular season starts, with the women’s team hosting an exhibition game versus Virginia State University on Oct. 23, and the men going up against Capital University on Oct. 25.
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