Hoopla hits the Bradley Hilltop

Originally published October 22, 2010  

Hoopla descended on the Hilltop as 1600 fans packed the arena for the opening of the 2010-2011 basketball season.

The exhibition, which was Bradley’s version of “midnight madness,” included introductions of the men and women’s basketball teams and a team dance by each.

But it was 6 foot 3 inch freshman guard Walter Lemon Jr. who stole the show in the dunk contest.

Going up against sophomore guard Dyricus Simms-Edwards and junior center Will Egolf, Lemon wowed the judges with a jaw-dropping, between-the-legs slam that brought the crowd to its feet.

The dunk contest judges consisting of President Joanne Glasser and former players Chad Kleine and Danny Adams declared the competition over after Lemon’s jam went in.

Lemon said he called the jam “the lemon squeeze.”

Earlier in the exhibition, Bradley student Jake Forney hit a three pointer to win free books next semester and women’s basketball players, sophomores Katie Yohn and Catie O’Leary, each drained a 40-foot three pointer to win a 26-inch television for two Bradley students.

Women’s coach Paula Buscher and men’s coach Jim Les were each driven into the arena on a Harley motorcycle. Both of them addressed the crowd and talked a little bit about their teams.

“This team is fun, energetic and very competitive,” Buscher said. “I feel very proud and blessed to work with them every day.”

Both teams also organized a team dance involving their coaches.

“I hope it takes a little less time to learn the offense than that dance,” Les joked.

Earlier in the day, the men’s basketball team held their first practice in the brand new Mitchell Anderson practice facility.

Les said this season the team is going to commit to playing tough defense.

“The emphasis is going to be buying into a commitment to defense,” Les said. “I told them I don’t care what your numbers were last year. To get on the floor you’re going to have to take pride on the defensive end. We have some awfully good, long athletes. If they commit to that, they could be very difficult to score against.”

The Braves Red-White scrimmage is Oct. 24 and the first exhibition is Nov. 6 against Quincy.