Last night's Red Storm Tip-Off was the opening curtain for swagger, and also for potential and uncertainty.
Not much "news" comes out of first-day practice events like last night's Tip-Off. The night was a chance to ponder the questions that will shape the season as thousands of fans, and a number of already committed recruits (Darrick Wood, Ricardo Gathers, Norvel Pelle, and Amir Garrett) looked on.
Televised on ESPN3, the Tip off featured the women's and men's teams coming out from the crowd to swagger music (the men's intro is set to New York State of Mind), smoke machines, and an excited Red Storm fanbase.
Steve Lavin, continuing to recover from his procedure to remove prostate cancer, was not able to join his squad. He should be able to resume coaching duties soon, but no timetable was given.
Coach Lavin is said to be in good spirits, sending text message barrages to his staff and players as he normally does. The staff has continued to do work on player development in Lavin's absence.
As for the on-court action, the women's squad played a scrimmage, goaded on by a streetball MC. The men dunked in their layup line and participated in a "shooting stars" (shooting from various stations) contest with members of the women's team. The Red Storm men's team only has eight players (try-out/ walk on selection is still to come), so the men couldn't show those skills at pick-up game speed.
And no fan won the iPad or the $50,000 prize for hitting a shot from beyond half court.
The Red Storm men's squad will start practices today. The new-look, mostly freshman team will play their first exhibition game on October 25th, against C.W. Post and former coach Chris Casey.
The regular season kicks off with William and Mary on November 7th, part of the Coaches vs. Cancer/ 2K Sports Classic. Come back to the Rumble for more looks at Red Storm Tip-Off, and looks at the uphill battle facing the young Red Storm squad.
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See the Baselines series - preseason looks at this year's roster