Eric Purnell | The Duquesne Duke
October is an amazing month for sports. Between the end of playoff baseball, the beginning of NHL hockey and NBA basketball, and the middle of the season for NFL and NCAA football, there is certainly a lot to be excited for if you are a sports fan. Following suit with professional sports, October is a big month for Duquesne sports, as the men’s and women’s basketball teams both prepare to soon begin their seasons.
This year the athletic department is offering a unique opportunity to catch something in October other than a cold, by hosting the first ever Dukes Madness basketball tournament. Hosted by the Duquesne Dukes and Duquesne Intramurals, the Dukes Madness tournament is a 3v3 basketball tournament that is free and open to all to enter, yet offers tons of prize giveaways, and even grand prizes to the winners, including flat screen televisions as well as FLEX.
Assistant Director of Marking and Promotions for the Duquesne athletics department Nicole Bucholtz is in charge of organizing the event, and hopes to have 30 teams enter “in the tournament as well as representation from as many student organizations on campus as possible.”
Along with participation, Bucholtz stresses the importance of enthusiasm, saying that people who do come to the event should be “ready to have fun and are engaging with [their] basketball programs and [her] staff”. Bucholtz later added that she is “all about quality – [she] know[s] the quantity (and the fans) will come once they know how fun it is to be a part of Dukes athletic events.”
The overall goal of the tournament, in the eyes of Bucholtz is “to create a basketball season tip-off event that engages our student body from all angles: competition, school spirit, teamwork, philanthropy, and fun for free.”
On top of winning prizes and playing basketball, Dukes Madness also offers the opportunity to meet and interact with members of the Duquesne men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Women’s basketball coach Dan Burt said that the Dukes Madness tournament is a great gateway to the beginning of basketball season.
“[It] is a great opportunity for the students to get ready for the upcoming basketball seasons as well as show their school spirit. All of the players and coaches are excited for Dukes Madness.”
In coordination with Burt, Bucholtz and her staff are also excited for the interaction between the students and members of the basketball teams and think it is an important interaction to have.
“[The athletes] are students just like their peers, but their schedules sometimes conflict with non-student athletes. That doesn’t mean they don’t have the same personalities or want to get to know their peers. It’s a mutual relationship we’re continuing to work on.”
There have been similar events held on campus before Dukes madness, but none have been quite like this so far. Bucholtz explains that the Dukes Madness tournament “will be different because we have an actual targeted audience (students) and finally have solid relationships with student groups on campus to help us make it great.”
Among these student groups are the members of Greek life on campus, who the athletics department has reached out to.
“Coach John Rhodes called all of the fraternity presidents on campus personally to invite them out to be a part of the event while Coach Dan Burt reached out to sororities.” Bucholtz said.
Aside from the tournament itself there will also be food, dancing and karaoke at the event on Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. in the Palumbo Center.