Pepper named dunk champ to kickoff basketball season
Published: Sunday, October 17, 2010
Updated: Sunday, October 17, 2010 23:10
Friday night's fourth annual Mountaineer Madness at the WVU Coliseum was a banner night for the West Virginia men's and women's basketball programs.
Two hours before the festivities began, fans lined up outside of the Coliseum as players from both teams signed autographs.
At 8:30 p.m., it was time for the real madness to begin. Fans filled the lower bowl of the Coliseum and got ready to see what was in store for them from the two teams in the 2010-11 season.
After a quick opening statement by Tony Caridi, the
emcee for the night, the
women's team was introduced.
Seniors Madina Ali and Liz Repella and head coach Mike Carey took the podium to say some words to the Mountaineer Nation.
"It's good to be preseason ranked top 10," Carey said. "But, at the end of the season, we want to be postseason ranked No. 1 in the country."
The team's NCAA Tournament banner was raised, commemorating its 29-win season in 2009-10.
Following the women's team introduction, it was time for the fans to get their first look at this year's edition of the West Virginia men's basketball team.
After introductions, juniors Truck Bryant, Kevin Jones and senior Joe Mazzulla spoke to fans before head coach Bob Huggins stepped to the microphone.
"It's a special thing when you can come back years later and bring your children, maybe your grandchildren, and say that you were a part of hanging that banner," Huggins said prior to their banner raising Friday night. "These guys have taken that to heart, and we're not done yet."
The banners for both the Big East championship and the Final Four run were raised high to the rafters of the Coliseum.
When the banners were stationed above the court, it was time for the part of the night that many of the fans were looking forward to – the slam dunk contest.
To the disappointment of some in attendance, the contest wasn't as big a hit as expected.
Senior and dunk contest reigning champion John Flowers and sophomores Dalton Pepper and Dan Jennings competed, each having one minute to complete two dunks.
Flowers wasn't able to make it to the final round and defend his title. In the end, it was Pepper who took the title this season, beating Jennings as voted on by fans in attendance.
The men's team took the court after the dunk contest, scrimmaging for two eight-minute quarters.