Wizards bring Midnight Madness to Patriot Center

Wizards fans meet with player John Wall at the Midnight Madness event held at the Patriot Center. (John Powell) 

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C2M's Stephanie Longueira reports from the Patriot Center Monday night.

The Washington Wizards held the NBA’s first-ever Midnight Madness at the Patriot Center Monday night.

The team held a live practice open to the public that began with the players warming up and running drills for the fans around 11:30 p.m. At midnight, the lights went off in the arena and the player introductions began.

Gilbert Arenas and John Wall were saved for last.

Following the introductions, the players returned to running drills, adding extra flare and exciting dunks for the Mason Nation. The event reached its climax as the squad split into white and black for a scrimmage.

“They were much more serious than we are and they were actually playing defense,” said sophomore basketball player Johnny Williams about Mason’s version of Midnight Madness.

“But I like the way we do it, we make sure nobody gets hurt,” Williams said.

The Wizards played with lots of intensity, despite the typical lighthearted attitude of a collegiate Midnight Madness. Arenas and Wall both played hard throughout the evening’s festivities and managed to show-off their skills in the process.

“It was fun to see John Wall, it was great to see him in a Wizards uniform,” junior communication major Ryan Gracia said. “Arenas looked really good also. Those are the two guys I wanted to see.”

Wizards’ owner Ted Leonsis stood on the sidelines the entire night with his eyes glued to the action on the court. Leonsis, also the owner of the Washington Capitals, has only owned the Wizards since June, but he has invested lots of time, money and effort into turning the program.

“At 1 in the morning I’m here, in the rain, and so are you,” Leonsis said. “This takes a lot of commitment.”

The Wizards will conclude their training camp in the Patriot Center Sunday with a “FanFest” and an open scrimmage at 12:30 p.m., both free of charge.

The team begins preseason action Oct. 5 at 8:30 p.m. at Dallas. They open the regular season Oct. 28 at Orlando.

“If the team is successful, the fans will follow,” Leonsis said.


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