It’s time for USF’s most attended sport of the year… basketball is back the Hilltop! Held at War Memorial Gym, Hoopsfest is the annual kickoff for the men’s and women’s basketball season. Because Hoopsfest happens during USF Alumni Weekend, it gives students, staff and alumni the opportunity to get a preview of the upcoming season, in addition to providing an interactive event for all students to participate in.
This year’s festivities started with two competitive games of dodgeball hosted by the sorority Delta Zeta and the Koret Health Center. Both members of Delta Zeta and students who registered into the raffle were divided into two teams: Team 1 and Team 2. Team 1 commanded the first game but struggled to start the second. Team 2 showed that they had more stamina and pulled out game two. Unfortunately, these two teams were not able to participate in a decisive third game, so they finished tied.
As these games ended, the USF marching band played themselves in and the Spirit Squad danced their way onto the court as fans funneled into their seats. Once everyone was settled, MCs senior forward Chase Foster and sophomore guard Nia Alexander introduced their respective teams. Between the women’s and men’s introductions, the marching band showed off some of their new songs.
The USF marching band was not the only organization at the basketball games that had new songs to show off. The Spirit Squad, with a few new members added to the squad, showed that they were in mid-season form even before the season started, with their routines looking sharp and crisp.
After the basketball teams’ introduction, the Indian Student Organization’s dance team slid into formation and showed off a cultural dance. The fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha and the Japan Club lead chants to pump up USF school spirit where the best chant’s organization won $1,000. Alpha Phi Alpha were very enthusiastic which helped the crowd get more into their chant. The electricity of the crowd aided Alpha Phi Alpha in winning the $1,000 reward money.
All of the students that participated in the two dodgeball games were entered into a raffle to be selected to participate in the 3-point contest and a Knock Out Challenge. As a fan, it was hard to follow what was happening, with both the three-point contest and knockout were at the same time.
Both the 3-point and Knock Out Challenge were hosted by the women’s basketball side, which was followed by three of the men’s team competing against each other in a night-ending dunk contest. The three contestants were freshman forward Taavi Jurkatamm, Foster and junior forward Nate Renfro.
Four adult members of the audience were brought onto the court to act as judges, but were only relied on to confirm that Renfro had secured the competition. Renfro started his run-up from the other free-throw line, sprinted down and took off around the free-throw line and slammed it home, winning the contest with a Michael Jordan-esque dunk. This caused the crowd and rest of the team to jump out of their seats in shock.
HoopSFest has me looking forward to the upcoming basketball season. The Green and Gold’s season starts Nov. 10 against Long Beach State for the men and Cal Poly for the women.
Featured Photo: Bouyea (1), Orlich (3), and Pasache (30) react to Renfro’s dunk (15, seen below) during HoopSFest. Ian Hill Foghorn