Written by Joe Hubbs. Media by Morgan Johnson.
As the weather cools down, an ache forms in the back of your brain. You try to contain the twitching, but your body cannot overcome the madness. Slowly your feet give in too, and you find yourself walking into the HJ Long Gymnasium. Finally all the rage bursts out when you see Todd Albertson swish a jump shot, and you explode into uncontrollable clapping and screaming. This is the madness that is Greenville basketball.
Monday night, the men and women’s basketball teams held their annual Midnight Madness to hype up Greenville College for their upcoming season. A high flying dunk contest, along with an everyone-plays knockout event shot the basketball mood onto campus.
As in any typical pep rally atmosphere, the night began with a little bit of good ol’ fan participation games-the kind of stuff minor league baseball teams set up to keep fans interested. Of course at some point there had to be a relay. The crowd delighted themselves in watching four teams of volunteer Greenville students dress in oversized clothes, run down the basketball court, spin around a baseball bat 10 times, and then make a shot in the basketball goal above them with their heads spinning in circles. No winner was ever announced, but the one group with all football guys finished dead last and there was much rejoicing. Clearly our macho attitudes and burley physiques mean nothing in a fun relay race.
To segue the night from fan fun to basketball, our basketball teams so graciously offered everyone in the crowd a chance to play in a friendly game of knockout. When you give everyone the opportunity to play and have the chance to humiliate some basketball players at their own sport, not a lot of people back down. In fact, so many wanted to join in they had to split it up into two games, one on each side of the court. All of the men and women basketball players lined up behind everyone else, basically waiting to knock them out. After the longest knockout game in the history of basketball, two women players came out victorious over the entire student body. Emily Gundy and Fadra Coates made the last shot on each side of the court, so no matter which team has a better season, men or women, the women can boast the knockout crown on campus.
Over the years the NBA dunk contest has become somewhat of a joke. In Greenville, it is still the longstanding favorite event of Midnight Madness. The Greenville men did not disappoint the crowd. Andy Anderson, Anthony Metzler, Tevin Rollins, and Ron Harris all pumped up the crowd with some high flying action. Metzler threw down a one handed jam off a bounce pass from the highest bleacher. Rollins took the alley-oop to new territory with a slam on a pass from half court, and Anderson performed a couple of impressive two handed tomahawk dunks. All flew to the rim with authority and pizazz, but there was one thing they lacked…or maybe had too much of…height. The sad thing is, Rollins was announced the winner of the contest, and Harris’ dunks were so insane that I cannot describe the degree of difficulty. However, no matter how good their dunks were, you cannot compete with a 5’5 man who can dunk a ball. Senior Alex Mumphard has tried to dunk in Midnight Madness every year, but has come up short-pun intended. For the past four years he has been a valuable asset to Greenville’s team, and there is no one working harder in the offseason to be better for the team. Every drill he does in the offseason is for the betterment of the team, but in the back of his mind, I am sure the never ending goal has been to finally wow the Midnight Madness crowd with a dunk. When Mumphard walked out onto the court after all the trees showed off, a hush overtook a crowd that knew this was his last chance. In what seemed like slow motion, Mumphard took a running start and sprung up to catch the lob from his teammate…A one handed jam! Adoring Greenville friends and fans did not waste a second before giving the standing ovation.
Before midnight, and before the scrimmages even began, the crowd had been fed what they craved. Nothing can top the small man dunking. Nate Robinson and every short man’s idol Spud Webb started the show that no one can resist when they won NBA dunk contests. Look at their height though. Robinson is 5’9 and even Webb is 5’7. Mumphard, Greenville’s dunk hero, is only 5’5. Earl Boykins, another short NBA player at 5’5 rarely dunked, and I don’t think the shortest man to ever play professionally Muggsy Bogues (5’3) ever dunked a ball. So who is the shortest person ever to dunk? Did Mumphard just tie Boykins for that title? Short guys everywhere aspire to dunk like Spud Webb. At Greenville, every short guy now wishes he could dunk like Alex Mumphard. That inspiration will last for midnights to come.
Unfortunately Mr. Mumphard probably has no plans of jamming one down in a game this year, but the men and women’s basketball teams still have plenty of reasons to bring a crowd to its feet. Games don’t officially start until November 15, but be sure to catch the alumni game this Saturday at 7 pm.