Basketball teams anticipate success for upcoming season

When the clock struck 10, the chaos began. 

Students came flooding though the doors of the Wolves’ Den and just minutes later, the stands were filled to capacity. 

The only seating that was left was on the gym floor just in front of the bleachers. 

But, by 10:30, that was full too. 

Judging by the consistent roar of excitement coming from the crammed gym Wednesday night, Midnite Madness, the annual event celebrating the start of the 2015-2016 men’s and women’s basketball teams, was a success.

Put on by Sonoma State Associated Students Productions, Midnite Madness featured a variety of different events including shooting competitions for money prizes, the introduction of all 14 NCAA sports teams and the highly anticipated tuition shot, in which one student was given the opportunity to land a half-court shot for a semester of free tuition. 

“That’s one thing about basketball that is so great,” said Tanner Adams, a senior point-guard for the women’s basketball team. “We get a whole event for our season, it’s definitely a privilege.”

The conclusion of Midnite Madness marked the beginning of the season for both of the Sonoma State basketball teams; a season in which both teams are hoping to recover from after their substandard one last year.

The men’s team will look to improve upon their 2014-2015 season, where they sported a 9-13 conference record, which landed them eighth place in the CCAA. 

After starting the season 8-2, the team was plagued by injuries to some critical players, leaving them short-handed for most of the season.

“Our defense has to be better,” said head coach Pat Fuscaldo. “Our strength [this season] is going to be in our numbers.”

Determined—that is how James Slade, a senior forward for the Seawolves, would describe his team this year. 

Winning the league championship will be the Seawolves’ main goal this season.

Slade also believes that a big part of his team’s success will come from their outstanding team chemistry. 

“We are all really close,” said Slade. “Outside of basketball we hang out a lot, like barbequing and golfing, so I feel our connection is as good as it gets.”

The men’s team will have six graduating seniors at the end of the season and Slade says that their objective will be to “go out on top.”

As for women’s basketball, chemistry is something that Adams believes to be strength in her team as well. 

“We have a lot better chemistry this year,” said Adams. “We love each other and even the freshmen are fitting in so nice with the program; we have a really good group of girls.”

The Seawolves ended their previous season with a 4-18 league record, finishing second-to-last in the standings. 

However, head coach Mark Rigby is confident that his team will be able to bounce back from their previous, losing seasons. 

“Our returners have gone through a couple of tough years,” said Rigby, and that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

Both Adams and Rigby believe there are a couple of things that will contribute to the success of their season: the emergence of leadership that will come mostly from their three seniors and a talented freshmen class. 

“I want them to have a great year and I think we brought people in that can help that along,” said Rigby.

The women’s team will play their first game in the Wolves’ Den on Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. against William Jessup University and the men’s will host their annual Ron Logsdon Basketball Classic tournament, which will begin on Friday, Nov. 20, against Dixie State. 

Then, both will open up CCAA play at home on Dec. 2 against UC San Diego. The women’s game will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the men’s will follow at 7:30.

Midnite Madness featured several preformers, including professional Showtime Dunk Team, who dazzled the crowd with an array of slam dunks using trampolines to gain excitement for the upcoming basketball season.  

Midnite Madness featured several preformers, including professional Showtime Dunk Team, who dazzled the crowd with an array of slam dunks using trampolines to gain excitement for the upcoming basketball season.