Full Court Fest excites crowd

Full Court Fest

 The Lion’s Roar / Maria Goddard
Junior guard Zay Johnson shows off his hops by leaping over teammate Malcolm Reid during the dunk contest.

Hundreds of students lined up around the University Center in anticipation of Full Court Fest, a spirited event featuring the men and women’s basketball teams. This event was sponsored by Lion Athletics, who gave away a 32” Sharp TV, Jambox Mini, Southeastern T-shirts and Canes to boost Lion Pride. 

Full Court Fest took place Wednesday night for the seventh time. According to Brandon Frank, gameday coordinator, the event name changed from “Roomie’s Rockin Hoop Fest” to “Hoop Fest/ Meet the Teams” and finally, “Full Court Fest.”

At the festival, the dance team and cheerleaders entertained the crowd as each member from both the men and women’s teams were introduced. The Southeastern Pep Band provided music for the festivities. 

Sports Information Graduate Assistant Katy Morse and Marketing and Promoting Assistant Lindsey Cramer introduced two new head coaches: Jay Ladner for the men’s basketball team and Yolanda Moore for the women’s basketball team. 

Both coaches spoke to inspire students to have more enthusiasm for their teams and encouraged them to attend games. 

“What an incredible turnout that we had. We were thrilled with tonight,” said Ladner. “If we could get that turnout of students that we had tonight at our home games, they would help us win because they are there as a direct influence.”

Rallying the support of students was the main point of the festival. 

“The purpose of it was to get the students out and invite them into our environment and to welcome them and invite them to come out and support us in the season,” said Moore. “I hope that everybody that came here tonight will bring at least two or three friends with them. We need this place loud and packed to capacity.”

The men’s basketball team quickly warmed up before the three-point shootout competition took place. Cedric Jenkins, guard for men’s basketball, was paired with senior elementary education major Courtney Cavignac and Peaches Anderson, sophomore guard for the Lady Lions, was paired with freshman computer information major Eric Green. 

Anderson and Green won first place; Jenkins and Cavignac finished second. Green received the 32” Sharp TV and Cavignac won the Jambox Mini. 

Next, select players from the men’s team participated in a dunk contest. DeVonté Upson, senior forward, won this competition by getting the most intense cheers from the audience. 

“We just wanted to put on a show,” said Upson. “This year is going to be a different year. It’s going to be very exciting. [Students] should come out, support and watch.”

Another teammate who is excited about the upcoming season is Onochie Ochie, senior forward for the men’s basketball team. 

“I really enjoy events like this. It makes you want to ‘Lion Up.’ It’s a blessing to see all these people out here. We’ve never really had this much people, so the school spirit is just awesome,” said Ochie. “Coach Ladner is such a great coach. He’s really pushing us to get better each and every day.”

Ladner believes that this hard work will help them become the best in the United States.

“Our goal is to win the national championship. We’re realistic, and that’s going to take some time to build to that level. We work every single day to be the best team in the country,” said Ladner. 

Ladner’s hope for the “Full Court Festival” was that supportive ties would be made between the student body and the teams. Junior kinesiology major Tyron’E Hawkins demonstrated her desire to back the team up. 

“I had a blast. Everyone was excited and Lion Pride was everywhere,” said Hawkins. “It definitely made me want to come to a lot more events and see what else Athletics and our team has to offer.”

The first home game for the Lions will be on Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. against Loyola in the University Center. The Lady Lions will battle against Southern on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. in the University enter. Students are able to attend for free upon presentation of their student ID. 

Jay Ladner

The Lion’s Roar / Maria Goddard
Head Coach Jay Ladner (above) speaks to the fans during Full Court Fest. The first year coach has high hopes for the Lion men’s basketball team