College Basketball: Midnight Madness roundup
Midnight Madness roundup ... CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - It wouldn't have been "Late Night with Roy" at North Carolina without Roy Williams - and the Hall of Fame coach sure looked thrilled to be back. The Tar Heels opened preseason practice Friday night with their annual evening of silliness and scrimmaging. For Williams, the event became extra special because of his recent cancer scare. In his first public appearance on the Smith Center sideline since the scare, Williams received three distinct, extended standing ovations from the crowd. The coach repeatedly waved in appreciation, then attempted to deflect the attention toward his players. Doctors discovered tumors on both of the 62-year-old's kidneys last month. He says 24 days passed before it was ultimately discovered that both growths were benign. That led him to say earlier this week that he plans to "smell the roses a heck of a lot more" and that he couldn't wait to get back to work on the practice court. "I know it meant a lot to him to have the fans standing up for him," swingman Reggie Bullock said. Williams watched his team's 20-minute informal intrasquad scrimmage from the scorer's table, with the Blue team beating the White 37-27. Official statistics weren't kept, but P.J. Hairston unofficially finished with 12 points for Blue, which also had shooting guard Leslie McDonald and freshman point guard Marcus Paige. Bullock and James Michael McAdoo each unofficially had seven points to lead White. "We had some great plays. We still have some things we need to work on, with defending the pick-and-roll and players just becoming comfortable at what they were doing in high school and transferring it to the college game," Bullock said. "We'll work those wrinkles out when practice comes." Dexter Strickland, who like McDonald is coming back from a knee injury, sat out as a precaution but team officials said he was expected to practice Saturday. N.C. STATE RALEIGH - North Carolina State officials stopped a public scrimmage Friday night when the grandfather of senior Scott Wood fell ill at courtside and was carried away on a stretcher. Team spokesman Dwayne Harrison said Wood's grandfather was taken to a hospital for evaluation, but he was alert and conscious. He was released from the hospital on Saturday. A visibly upset Wood followed behind the stretcher, and officials stopped the 20-minute intrasquad scrimmage with 3:35 left. It was part of the "Primetime with the Pack" event for the Wolfpack, who are expected to be among the favorites in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It included second-year coach Mark Gottfried entering by riding a zip line down to the court from the second level of the PNC Arena stands. The event drew more than 10,000 fans. KENTUCKY LEXINGTON, Ky. - Repeating his take that Kentucky fans are crazy during Big Blue Madness, Wildcats coach John Calipari also acknowledged their justification to go wild. And as a group of Wildcats legends raised the school's eighth national championship banner to the Rupp Arena rafters Friday night, so did fans' enthusiasm. Calipari marked the start of practice by recognizing the latest contribution to Kentucky's proud tradition, hoping it motivates this year's squad to continue it. "I came here to win national titles for you," Calipari said as a capacity crowd at Rupp roared. Kentucky's latest recruits appeared ready to do that. A capacity crowd was introduced to much-heralded big men Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein, forward Alex Poythress and guard Archie Goodwin. Transfers Julius Mays and Ryan Harrow also debuted. MAMA DUNK Josh Thompson made Midnight Madness a real family affair. The senior forward for Wagner College drew plenty of national attention at last season's opening practice when he dunked over his mother to win a contest among his teammates. It isn't just the major powers who entertain their fans to open the season. Quite of few of the nearly 350 Division I programs have some sort of showy scrimmage and almost every one includes a dunking contest. • Baylor's Deuce Bello earned perfect 10s from all four judges in the dunk contest after jumping over 7-foot-1 freshman Isaiah Austin in the opening round. Bello, a 6-4 sophomore, did a back flip when he was introduced with his teammates at the start of the event. • Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim entered the court for "Orange Madness" in a U.S. army vehicle and was joined by soldiers from Fort Drum military base. Boeheim showed the crowd his gold medal from this past summer at the London Olympics, where he served as an assistant coach for the U.S. team, and thanked the soldiers for their service before the scrimmage began.