It's getting to be that time of year where it starts getting darker earlier in the evening and thunderstorms seem to be more frequent than they have been. What does this mean? Well that the football season is in full swing and college basketball isn't that far off either. In fact, the start of when colleges can officially start practicing is October 15th.
Many colleges have a "Midnight Madness" type event which usually includes some combination of a dunk contest and a scrimmage mixed in with some other activities. Besides providing entertainment for fans of the program, these events have become a critical recruiting tool to be used by the coaches and their staffs.
Taking a look back to KU's 2009 "Late Night in the Phog" there was some outstanding talent in Lawrence. The list of players attending basically read like the top of the Rivals recruiting rankings with names such as Josh Selby, Harrison Barnes, Josiah Turner, Doron Lamb & Royce Woolridge. Now not even a traditional power like Kansas can land everyone as Barnes chose to attend North Carolina and Lamb decided on Kentucky but obviously getting Selby & Woolridge isn't too shabby.
Some previous years practices at KU brought in names such as current player Tyrel Reed along with the freshly departed trio of Cole Aldrich, Xavier Henry & Sherron Collins.
For this upcoming season Kansas State's midnight madness practice will be featured by ESPNU on a special four hour telecast along with some of college basketball's heavyweight programs like Kentucky, Duke & Memphis. No doubt Frank Martin & Dalonte Hill will be making this aware to recruits all over the country. Some high profile names lured to Manhattan in previous years are current player Jacob Pullen along with current NBA players Michael Beasley and Bill Walker.
So now is the time to start trying to find out what big-name recruits the coach at your school can reel in for Midnight Madness. The coach can only get the players there after that it's up to the fans to make the real recruiting pitch.
Also I haven't researched all the special names given to all the opening practices across the country but would be hard pressed to find a cooler one than Gonzaga's "Kraziness in the Kennel" moniker.