By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (October 14, 2016) — The madness is coming back to Stephenville and will envelope Wisdom Gym just past midnight.
“Midnight Madness has become an annual event we look forward to each year. It signals the start of a new year in college basketball and gives our student-athletes a chance to perform for their fans and fellow students and really connect with them in a different way than they are able to the rest of the season,” said Tarleton men’s coach Lonn Reisman, who figures to be the biggest attraction of all at the annual event in Wisdom Gym, where doors open at 11:30 p.m. Friday.
Reisman, the winningest active college coach in Texas with 613 victories in 28 seasons at Tarleton, will be making his first public appearance since having successful surgery to remove prostate cancer on September 27. Also athletic director, Reisman has been back in his office and at workouts this week, and even met with reporters on media and photo day Tuesday. But many fans will be seeing the 29th year leader of the Texans for the first time since his surgery Friday night.
The TexAnns will tip off the event just after midnight, and while they aren’t disclosing details, they promise to do their annual dance routine, with a few other entertaining items on the agenda before scrimmaging briefly then turning the court over to the men’s team.
“You just have to come and see for yourself, but it will definitely be good,” said senior forward Ikpeaku Iwobi when asked what all the TexAnns had planned. “We’re gonna dance, you know that, we always do that.”
Third-year head coach Misty Wilson wasn’t revealing any plans either.
“Some of our girls have some non-basketball talents that will be on display,” Wilson said. “The girls always have fun with this, and that’s good. As long as they’re ready to go to work for real when it’s over.”
October 15 is the first day NCAA Division II teams are allowed to hold regular practices, so a rigid schedule follows the madness as both Tarleton teams prepare for the start of the regular season in November.
But first, a little fun is in order. The first 300 fans to enter Wisdom Gym will receive Midnight Madness T-shirts, and the school’s Foul Play basketball band, cheerleaders and Texan Star dance team will all perform.
But Josh Hawley says the best is being saved for last, as the men’s team will come out following the women, and typically a dunk fest occurs before the focus shifts a brief scrimmage.
“I might have to pull something out of my bag of tricks,” said the high-flying redshirt freshman. “Me and Ro (Romond) Jenkins gotta show a little somethin’ somethin’.”
Tarleton’s women will have two exhibitions. The TexAnns host NAIA member Texas Wesleyan on November 2 and visit the University of Texas on November 6.
The Texans don’t have an exhibition on the schedule, and are set to open the regular season at home against Adams State on November 11.