Midnite Madness returns to Trask Coliseum

New era of Seahawk basketball introduced on Friday night

Brandon Sans, Assistant Sports Editor

As it is each year at UNC Wilmington, both the men’s and women’s basketball programs tipped off the season with the annual Midnite Madness event in Trask Coliseum.

The event was the cultivation of a week-long fan fest environment on the campus. Events included an ice cream giveaway and a chance to win official Midnite Madness T-shirts.

The event was special in many ways for each program, notably being the first time head coaches Karen Barefoot and C.B. McGrath introduced themselves to the crowd. Both come from schools with strong basketball traditions, but neither expected the reception they received.

“I got chill bumps right now, I just love the energy in this building with everyone in the community,” said Barefoot. “I’m ready to start this journey with everybody.”

It was the final Midnite Madness for women’s basketball seniors Rebekah Banks, Sierra Clayborn, Jenny DeGraaf, Madison Raque, and Diamond Willis. Men’s basketball seniors who were introduced for the final time were Marcus Bryan, Nick Powell, and Jordon Talley.

All will play for new Seahawk coaches for the first time in their careers.

For Raque, Friday was an unforgettable moment to end an unforgettable week for the senior. At the Colonial Athletic Association women’s basketball media day, she was selected as an honorable mention on the All-CAA preseason team. Raque ranked 10th in the conference in scoring with 10.7 points per game last year.

Raque said the honor was “a reflection of her teammates last year,” and that she will continue to cherish each “last” moment in her final year.

“I’m just trying to stay in the moment,” said Raque. “I’m super excited, there’s a lot of people here, but it hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Junior forward Devontae Cacok entered the arena to a thunderous applause. Cacok is the lone starter remaining from back-to-back CAA championship teams and is expected to take a leadership role for the Seahawks this year. He took a few extra moments to take in the crowd.

“It was a fun experience to see the fans hyped for the season,” said Cacok. “It was a great feeling, we had a good turnout. We’re ready for the season to start now.”

As always, the night concluded with the annual dunk and three-point contests between the two teams. Guard Jenny DeGraaf took home the three-point contest after beating forward Jeantal Cylla while guard Jaylen Fornes dunked home the Slam Dunk crown that capped the night.

Assistant Sports Editor Brandon Sans can be found on Twitter @Bsans10. Any tips or suggestions should be forwarded via email to uncwseahawksports@gmail.com. For video updates from The Seahawk, subscribe to our YouTube channel.