It is a common cliche in sports that in between every season, athletes come back from the offseason in the so-called, “best shape” of their life. With this quip, a sense of hope is sprinkled upon the outlook for the new season. Coming into the 2022-2023 college basketball season, one might say that the Daskalakis Athletic Center is in the best shape of its life. Sporting a massive new video board and a revamped sound system, bringing with it a bright outlook for the impending season.
It was time to show these long-awaited renovations off to the student body during the Blue and Gold Madness, an event that was marketed as a kickoff for the upcoming college basketball season as well as an unveiling of The DAC’s renovations. The first 200 fans in attendance were able to snag free T-Shirts that sport the logo of the upcoming “Battle of 33rd Street” that will be taking place on Nov. 15 when the University of Pennsylvania Men’s Basketball team makes the two block trek to take on the Drexel Dragons in the DAC, a highly anticipated rivalry matchup that the athletic department surely hopes to sell out.
The massive new video board was the centerpiece of the experience, highlighted by the several promotional and highlight videos displayed on it throughout the event. Additionally, both the men’s and women’s basketball teams were introduced to the fans, capped off by speeches from coaches Amy Mallon and Zach Spiker where they urged students to “pack the DAC” all season long.
The headlining moments of the event were the student contests. In the first matchup, three students faced off in a free throw competition where the winner took home a custom pair of Nike basketball shoes. The main attraction of the night was the half-court shot. All fans in attendance were given the opportunity to enter a lottery to attempt one half court shot for the opportunity to take home $10,000. Unfortunately, the fan who was selected had more luck than skill, and their shot fell far short of the basket, walking away with only a $50 gift card to Shake Shack rather than the grand prize.
After the event wrapped up, fans were welcomed to remain in the DAC, where they could interact with the basketball players and watch game four of the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros as it was televised on the new video board.
Greg Cusick, the senior associate athletics director, spoke after the event stating that, “We heard a lot of strong feedback from the students in attendance about the atmosphere as well as the capabilities of the videoboard…We look forward to hosting students at the newly renovated DAC throughout the basketball season and beyond.”
Drexel fans should have every reason to attend basketball games this season. The women, led by the graduate student and pre-season conference Player of the Year, Keishana Washington, are being viewed as the heavy favorites to win the CAA this season, as well as be one of the best Mid-Major basketball teams in the nation. The men, led by reigning CAA Defensive Player of the Year, Amari Williams, are looking to build upon their winningest season of the Zach Spiker era, with an infusion of young talent, headlined by the additions of freshman guards Justin Moore and Shane Blakeney. All student tickets to games are free and accessible at both the ticket offices at The DAC and online through DrexelOne.