Free treats, meeting the team attracts 300 to Hoopla event (Basketball)

Brian Sumers and Brian Sumers

Like most people at Thursday night’s Halloween Hoop-la, Jen Acker came for the free pizza, the three-point contest, and the chance to meet the basketball team.

But Acker, Communication junior, had another reason for attending.

“There’s a ton of cute boys on the team,” said Acker.

Acker was one of more than 300 people at Thursday’s event, which introduced the men’s and women’s basketball team to the Northwestern community. Most of the attendees were students, although some adult season ticket holders came, giving the Hoop-la its largest attendance its three-year history.

Upon arriving, students were treated to free mugs (filled with hot chocolate), pizza and soda, magnet schedules and complimentary pairs of white Champion socks. Students who picked up their season tickets also received a “Wildside” T-shirt.

The free socks caught some students off guard, especially since they lacked an NU logo and were too big for most female feet. But that didn’t stop hordes of students from taking them.

“I just questioned that because I didn’t really get it,” said Adam Alcabes, a Communication sophomore. “But at the same time if they’ll give me socks I’ll take them.”

Some of the first students to arrive also had a chance to bob for apples, winning prizes from the athletic department for successful attempts.

While few students wore purple, Nathan LeMahieu, a long-time member of both the Wildside and the former-Welsh-Ryan Rowdies, made up for his classmates’ lack of spirit with his own ensemble.

Already wearing a white dress shirt and a purple tie from his school day, LeMahieu added purple NU shirt for the festivities. That clothing may have hurt him in the three-point shooting contest, when he failed to make a shot.

“The tie was flying in my face and my dress shirt was a little too starched,” said LeMahieu, a Music and Weinberg senior. “I just didn’t have a full range of motion.

Despite the lack of purple, Tracie Hitz, assistant director of marketing for NU athletics, called the event a success. She’s hoping the excitement will carry over to Welsh-Ryan arena, where the Wildcats play their home games.

Although Hitz wants to attract students with old-fashioned promotions, Alcabes knows how to get students ready for games.

“A lot of pre-gaming will be included,” he said.