This Saturday marks the official start of the 2012-13 campaign for the Harvard men’s basketball team. And for the second straight year, students can be a part of the first official team practice, as Crimson Madness takes over Lavietes Pavilion at 1 pm tomorrow.
If you haven’t marked this date in your calendar yet, you should.
Don’t believe me? Here are five reasons it’s probably time to dust off those ‘Harvard Hoops’ t-shirts and head across the river.
1. Keep a tradition going.
In its second straight year, Crimson Madness may not be anywhere near the age of most things in Harvard Yard. But schools across the country host similar events each year. The tradition, known as Midnight Madness—in which teams play in front of fans at the earliest moment they are allowed by NCAA regulations—was started at Maryland in 1971.
“What we’re trying to do [with Crimson Madness] is to create a tradition,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. “I think last year was incredibly successful, and it led into a very positive season for our ballclub.... I know our kids, our players, are very excited to have an opportunity to play in front of fans and our students.”
Who knows, if you keep this going long enough, in a few years’ time, there won’t be a student at Harvard who remembers a time before the Madness.
2. Scope out new talent.
This year’s freshman class, simply put, is one of the strongest Harvard has ever had. And what better way to get to know these new faces than by watching them take the court against each other.
“[Crimson Madness is] a neat way to be introduced or give a quick glimpse into our team and certainly our incoming freshmen—people are always interested in seeing who the newcomers are,” Amaker said. “This is a nice chance to see these kids right away in an environment that's fun, festive.”
Not to mention that with key roster changes—both expected and unexpected—players you may not have heard of yet (including some rookies) will see time for Harvard this year. Of the Crimson’s consistent starters from last season’s Ivy championship team, just junior co-captain Laurent Rivard remains on the team. It’s time to learn some new jersey numbers.
3. Get to know Siyani Chambers.
Speaking of youngsters, rookie point guard Siyani Chambers is someone to keep your eye on.
The departure of second-team All Ivy point guard Brandyn Curry paired with the loss of sophomore Corbin Miller—who took a leave for religious reasons—leave Amaker and the Crimson with a big hole to fill at the point.