Oct. 25, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The University of Iowa Hawkeye men's and women's basketball teams used fireworks, spotlights, dance moves, and spectacular dunks to put on a show at Friday night's Black & Gold Blowout inside Carver Hawkeye Arena. The crowd of 7,140 saw everything from Lisa Bluder being hoisted into Mediacom Court on a platform to Fran McCaffery emerging onto the scene from inside a giant inflatable basketball.
"I always went to blowouts when I was a little kid, so I'm glad they brought it back last year and kept the tradition going," said UI pharmacy student Michael Maize.
Players got the chance to show off their best dance moves as spotlights, music, and fireworks accompanied them during the team introductions.
"I really liked the introductions," said UI sophomore Ciarah Schlader. "The fireworks were awesome, and the athletes showed off some sweet dance moves. It was fun to see each team in a different light."
The teams then competed against each other in front of an arena crowd for the first time this season, and fans got to see what each team had to offer.
"It was really cool to play in front of some fans," said junior Samantha Logic. "I think it's good for everyone to try and get the feel for the environment at Carver, just so when the Nov. 3 comes around they aren't too shocked by it. We just had some fun out there today."
"I am excited about the upswing in the Iowa basketball program," said attendee and Storm Lake, Iowa native, Dave Meyer. "I really enjoyed watching both the scrimmages. It's good to see both the women and men out there again."
Junior Gabriel Olaseni stole the show in the men's dunk contest. The junior brought the crowd to its feet and cleared the Iowa benches with a memorable dunk. The London, England native, performed a Michael Jordan-esque dunk when he leapt from the free throw line and slammed it home for straight ten's from the judges.
"I was trying to do the Michael Jordan," said Olaseni. "That was the first time I've tried it. I pretty much just tried to go for it. I thought it was worth a try, and I'm just glad I made it."
Coach McCaffery expressed confidence in Olaseni's ability to make the dunk.
"I felt like he was going to make it," said McCaffery. "We knew he was going to do it, and we all encouraged him. We knew he could make it."
The night was an exciting start to the 2013-14 seasons and optimism is high surrounding Hawkeye basketball.
"I'm excited to watch this team play this year," said Maize. "Hopefully, we perform well and make it to the tournament."