Midnight Madness Set for Friday

PROVO -- Cougar fans first chance for a glimpse of the 2001-2002 BYU men's and women's basketball teams will be Friday evening in the Smith Fieldhouse at the sixth annual BYU Midnight Madness. KSL television's Alema Harrington will host the event, which includes a variety of contests and prizes for fans and a scrimmage by both the BYU men's and women's teams.

Admission to Midnight Madness is free, but seating is limited. Midnight Madness activities begin at 10:15 p.m. with team highlight videos before Harrington's official welcome at 10:45 p.m. Cougar fans can ensure admission to Midnight Madness by attending the BYU women's volleyball match at 7 p.m. Friday evening. All fans attending the volleyball match can stay to guarantee a seat for Midnight Madness.

"This is an exciting event for our players and for the fans, especially the students," BYU men's basketball coach Steve Cleveland said. "We really appreciate the support we received from our fans. We have a 20-game home win streak and our fans have a lot to do with that. The students are great and Midnight Madness is a fun way to introduce our team and let them have some fun."

This year's men's team will present both some new and returning faces, including the return of 1999 WAC Freshman of the Year Mark Bigelow. As a freshman before his mission, Bigelow was BYU's leading scorer and rebounder. Eric Nielsen, Matt Montague, Travis Hansen and Daniel Bobik are among those returning from last year's Mountain West Conference championship team. Freshman point guard Shawn Opunui from Orem High School and Jared Jensen, Utah's Mr. Basketball last year at Fremont High School, are among the new players on the roster.

"Midnight Madness is a great event for students," BYU women's basketball coach Jeff Judkins said. "There is always a lot of excitement and some fun interaction. Our players are looking forward to the season. We will have a fun team for people to watch and we hope to have a great year."

The women's team returns the talented guard duo of All-American Erin Thorn and senior Stacy Jensen in Judkins first year as the head coach. Newcomer Danielle Cheesman of Mountain View High School, the USA Today High School Player of the Year, is one of several talented new players to suit up for the Cougars this season.

Sponsors of the Midnight Madness include Hogi Yogi, Teriyaki Stix, Utah Community Credit Union, Pizza Hut, Canyon Ski Resort, BYU Bookstore and Gold's Gym. BYU fans can expect a variety of contests and prizes, including the UCCU Twirl and Hurl competition, the Teriyaki Stix Sumo Challenge, the Canyons Ski Scramble, a free throw shootout and the Gold's Gym $10,000 Shot.

Cosmo and the cheerleaders will be on hand, as will the 2001 National Dance Team Champion Cougarettes. The cheerleaders and Cosmo will be throwing balls and shirts into the stands throughout the night.

"Midnight Madness is the season-opening party for our basketball teams and a lot of fun for the fans," Duff Tittle, associate athletic director, said. "It gives players a chance to showcase their talents and it gives fans a chance to get to know the players and coaches."