When it comes to the start of practices many programs like to get creative, and that’s been the case since Lefty Driesell started “Midnight Madness” in 1971 while at the University of Maryland. With the NCAA moving the start of practices up in recent years, allowing teams to get going six weeks before the first Friday of the regular season (this year that date is October 3), schools have explored many different ideas when it comes to celebrating the start of a new season and firing up their fan base.
In each of the last two seasons the UAB basketball program kicked things off with “Hoops on the Haasephalt,” an outdoor event named for head coach Jerod Haase that features both the men’s and women’s teams and dunk and three-point contests. Wednesday evening the school announced that the third annual “Hoops on the Haasephalt” has been scheduled for Thursday, October 9.
“Each year, our goal is to make this event bigger and better than the last,” Haase said in the release. “Blazer fans have shown up in full force the past two years, and we know that they will once again enjoy this year’s Hoops on the Haasephalt. ”
According to UAB last year’s event attracted nearly 4,000 spectators, and the combination of some outdoor basketball with homecoming festivities could very well exceed that number this time around.
UAB finished the 2013-14 season with an 18-13 record, going 7-9 in Conference USA play. The Blazers will be young this season, with the 2014-15 roster having just three upperclassmen (two seniors and a redshirt junior) to go along with ten underclassmen. UAB’s most productive returnee is senior forward C.J. Washington, who averaged 13.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest last season.