The USF men’s and women’s basketball teams showcased three pointers, slam dunks, and even dance moves at the Hilltop HoopSFest on Saturday, Aug. 18th at the War Memorial Gym. With the upcoming basketball season quickly approaching, the rosters for the 2014-2015 season were announced and fans were able to get a glimpse at what they will have to look forward to when the season tips off.
The Hilltop HoopSFest is an annual event that gives fans a sneak peak at USF’s basketball teams, and includes a variety of fun contests and prizes. The women’s team was introduced to the fans first, and was met with loud applause as they made their way out onto the court. The team then proceeded to entertain the crowd by dancing to a playlist of songs. Opening with Nicki Minaj’s hit single “Anaconda,” the women had the crowd cheering them on with laughter. The men, on the other hand, decided to create an original rap song, and the players danced at midcourt as two USF students took the mic and spewed verses about each member of the men’s team.
After the fans were introduced to the players, both the men and women were divided into two teams, one green and one gold. The first contest of the night was the three point contest. Sophomore guard Rachel Howard of the women’s team totaled the most three-point shots, making 16 in 60 seconds. However, her slick shooting was not enough to help her and her teammate, junior guard Tim Derksen, win the contest. Senior three-point specialist Chris Adams and junior forward Taylor Proctor took the title instead, winning by a single shot.
The dunk contest, arguably the highlight of the night, was once again dominated by junior forward Mark Tollefsen, who also won the contest in 2013. Tollefsen’s final dunk involved jumping over video coordinator German Srulovich, plucking the ball from Srulovich’s hands, and slamming it down in tomahawk fashion. USF President Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., one of four judges, gave the dunk a perfect score of 10.
Fresh off of his dunk contest victory, Tollefsen voiced his high expectations for the men’s basketball team this season.
“We are a really good team coming off of a really good year last year,” Tollefsen said. “We have experienced guys and young guys – young guys that are adjusting really well. I think that this year will be the year.”
Junior point guard Zhané Dikes also believes that the women will have a solid team this year.
“We are all really excited for this season,” Dikes said. “This is the hardest that we have worked in the offseason by far. We have depth and fight. That’s what we have and you will see it throughout the season.”
The Hilltop HoopSFest ended with a men’s basketball scrimmage, which gave the team a chance to demonstrate the roster’s in-game abilities. The players and coaches were then released to the lobby of War Memorial Gym to meet their fans.
The women open the 2014-2015 season with a home exhibition game against Saint Thomas on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 2:00 p.m. The men begin the season on Sunday, Nov. 16 with a home game against South Carolina State at 7:00 p.m.