OXFORD - Midnight Madness kicked off the start of a brand new season for Oxford's men's basketball team on Monday.
With the staff in position, the cheerleaders and pep band on deck, the athletics department got the fans pumped up and excited about the upcoming season. Candy was tossed into the audience, refreshments were served, prizes were won and the disc jockey got everyone on their feet as the team faced off in a sophomore/freshman scrimmage.
"The team is really coming together now, and it's not a minute too soon," commented Oxford head coach Roderick Stubbs. "We've had challenging exhibitions where we learned some valuable things about ourselves, and now we are ready to put all the lessons together as we embark on the new season. Midnight Madness is one way we can celebrate the beginning of the new season and share with the campus our excitement."
Chad Hixon and Robert Trumbo came out to play in full force, each vocally establishing their team leadership by working in tandem with their teammates. Both have been working diligently in the weight room and in practice to solidify their conditioning, being new leaders on a new team and promote the sense of unity necessary to be a championship contender.
Jacob Gise, the only other returning sophomore, stood on the sidelines proudly supporting his team as he continues rehabilitation on his ACL injury suffered during last season's Inter-Region Championship Game.
Gise is expected to join team practice in the near future.
Sophomore center Matt O'Connor towered over the rest of the team as he took his place at the beginning of the game. O'Connor is a force on the glass, and is one to keep an eye on throughout the season.
The team's freshmen are also quite noteworthy. Jordan Washington and Makeen Sabree have shown they are some of the team's most athletic players and will be essential in creating havoc on the defensive end of the floor.
Austin Morelock and Eric Kelliher possess toughness and a deep outside shot that will work to the Eagles' advantage during games. In addition, freshman Arnold Kim and Minoo Kim (no relation) are both versatile and game savvy players who will serve as great assets to the team.
One thing remains certain: Judging from the crowd and its participation, the Oxford College Eagle spirit is alive and well.
The Eagles tip off their season on the road against Southeastern Bible College in Birmingham, Ala. At 4 p.m. today. The first basketball contest held at the Eagle's Nest is at 7 p.m. Monday.