Full Court Fest draws crowd to see 2013-14 Lion basketball line-ups

The annual “Full Court Fest”, inaugurated in 2008 was held at the University Center on Tuesday, Oct. 29. Students gathered for a chance to see Lions and Lady Lions basketball players for the 2013-14 season. The admission to the event was free, and 500 free T-shirts were handed out.
Before the festivities began, students got a chance to see athletes up close while they signed calendars and took pictures with fans. Roomie also made an appearance, and he entertained the crowd as he attempted to shoot a few baskets.
Among the different activities throughout the night, two students paired up with one male and female athlete chosen for a dunk contest. Later on the battle continued between three male athletes, trying to see who got the most shots in 30 seconds. During the fest, Southeastern’s cheerleaders and Lionettes presented individual group routines to the rhythm of the band.
Four lucky students had the opportunity to participate in the crawl for cash and won prizes that ranged from tablets to Best Buy gift cards. Fourth place winner Amberlyn Bell, freshman criminal justice major was able to grab 18 tickets and won a Southeastern Adidas bag.
“I think it was a pretty good turnout. I had fun, and I participated in the crawl for cash. Even though I didn’t win the piece that I wanted, it was pretty fun,” said Bell.
Callie Hines, freshman early childhood education major, dressed up as a 1950s girl for the Halloween contest and won first place. Sisters Hannah Jones, junior accounting major and Sara Jones, sophomore health and physical education major dressed up as purple minions, from the motion picture “Despicable Me 2.”
Head coach for Lady Lion basketball Lori Davis Jones addressed the crowd and said the team has a lot of work to do, “but so far the progress has been good. We have three starting returners, and we’ll have just a lot of new faces to try and get in the mix.”
Jones noted senior forward Aja Gibson as a player to watch this season. For the 2012-13 season she was named to the All-Southland Conference third team after leading the team with 10.9 points per game.
“She’s a senior, and she’s been with our program for four years already. She has continued to develop our game every year becoming even more and more multidimensional. She has become a beautiful basketball player to watch.”
Another player to watch is junior guard Elizabeth Styles who is “extremely dynamic,” said Jones. “This will be her second year running the team, so this should be a good year for her, as well as Symone Miller and Erica Hernandez.”
During the off season Jones reinforced that they need to become a team that “challenges our opponents to have to take great shots every time. That’s probably our biggest concern, being able to score and shoot the ball better, and becoming a team that has a great defense and integrity.”
Lion basketball head coach Jim Yarbrough is ready for his team to get on the court and display the hard work they’ve put in during the off season.
“We just want our hard work to mean something,” said Yarbrough. “We want to go up from average/below average to good or great, and you have to push yourself very hard.”
Even though Yarbrough has yet to name a captain for his team, his love for the team comes greatly from it being a “kind of all for one and one for all, every guy can make contributions, from our freshmen up to our seniors.”
There are a few athletes who might emerge this upcoming season. Onochie Ochie, fourth year junior foward, “has a special perspective, but he can only do that because he has great shooters around him” said Yarbrough.
Other hopefuls include junior guards Julian Chiera and JaMichael Hawkins, senior forward Antonnio Benton, senior guard Jeffery Ricard and freshman guard Antonio Evans. With this sense of togetherness and working as a whole, the team could be on a path to a successful season.
“I don’t think we’re going to be a team that gets carried by a guy or two. I think we’re going to have so many guys that can carry us,” Yarbrough said. “Any one of them could in any given night. I love that team concept. It’s going to serve us very well this season.”
Regarding the idea behind an event like this, Yarbrough said, “These kinds of gathering are great for the guys to do things a little different, and it gets our student body kind of familiar with the sports that are coming on winter time. It makes them feel good about what they are doing and their hard work.”
Students like Bell were happy with the outcome of the event and said it made them more interested in attending the games.
The men’s basketball team opens its home schedule with a 7 p.m. contest against Champion Baptist on Nov. 14. Mobile visits the University Center on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. to face the Lady Lions in their first home contest. For more information on sports visit lionsports.net.