- Grant enables UAB Hospital staff to feed underprivileged moms of newborns
- Military man coming to UAB for first time, graduates Saturday
- UAB’s College of Arts and Sciences to honor distinguished alumni and friends
- ‘Tis the season of giving — UAB launches holiday blood drive
- How a cybersecurity expert protects his smartphone
- ASC presents Take 6, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” Dec. 15
- Leeth named UAB School of Medicine assistant dean for strategic planning
- Coping with holiday grief
- New water plan saves big money
- Campus police offer holiday safety tips
- Alys Stephen Center Screens Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago
- Hospital feeds underprivileged new moms
- UAB’s Alys Stephens Center presents Yo-Yo Ma Dec. 6
- Southern Miss tops Blazers, 62-27, in season ending game
- Henry Panion selected for 2014 Alabama African-American History Calendar
Hoops on the ‘Hassephalt’ gets Blazers pumped (Photos)
UPDATE — A crowd of more than 3,800 people poured into the parking lot on the corner of 13th Street and University Boulevard to witness the second annual “Hoops on the Haasephalt” on Friday, October 4.
The night was designed to kick off UAB’s basketball season and featured the men’s and women’s teams.
“The goal for this event is to build excitement,” said men’s basketball head coach Jerod Haase. “It is a great starting point to the season. It is fun for our guys. It is good for our program and the athletics department.”
At the beginning of the evening, players signed autographs while students ate Full Moon BBQ and children played in a bouncy castle.
It seemed like a low-key event at first, but as the sun went down and more people showed up, the excitement grew.
The crowd was made up of students, athletes, and local Birminghamians, all ready to cheer on the Blazers.
Senior Raphael Rondino, a business and finance major and a member of the men’s tennis team, said he enjoys watching UAB basketball: “When I can, I watch all the time.”
Rondino said he doesn’t know what to expect from this year’s team because he hasn’t looked at the roster.
Sophomore neuroscience major Natasha Mehra said she’s expecting a solid year from the Blazers: “With Memphis out of the division, we can do a lot better. Hopefully, that’ll be motivation. We can rise to the top.”
“I’m just going to try to go to every single home game for both,” Mehra said about the men’s and women’s teams.
As the night went on, there wasn’t a seat available on the two sets of bleachers that sat beside a temporary basketball court, which had been set up on the concrete. Students huddled together, so that their friends could squeeze into a seat, but latecomers were forced to stand and crane their necks for a shot of the action.
The U.S. Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team kicked the night off, playing a team formed from UAB students. There was a performance by BMX star Terry Adams that had the crowd shouting. The basketball teams, the men’s soccer team, and the softball team competed in a dance-off, and the UAB cheerleaders and Golden Girls both made appearances.
Alexis Raven, a junior psychology major, said she thought the event would help get students excited about UAB basketball.
“It’s going to take work from all the different departments and organizations on campus to really put forth a lot of events during times when students can go to spur that school spirit,” she said.
Haase was conspicuously absent for the first half of the night until he made his grand entrance, arriving by a helicopter that landed in the adjacent practice field.
“Somebody floated the idea of riding in a helicopter jokingly one time, and I said, ‘Why not?’ ” Haase said. “That has to be our attitude – why not? Let’s go bigger and better.”
It was the highlight of the night, and students went crazy over it. As junior business major Alicja Foksinska wrote on Facebook later that night, “The COOLEST entrance to an event made by Coach Haase. It sure was an awesome event – needless to say, I go to the best school.”
Photos by Sarah Adkins