MO State HS Sports

Mizzou Madness Tips Off 2023-24 Season

Mizzou Madness

Columbia, Mo. – The Missouri men’s and women’s basketball teams tipped off the season with the second-annual Mizzou Madness in front of the historic Columns.

With approximately 4,000 Tiger fans packed on the Francis Quadrangle in front of the Columns and Jesse Hall, members of both teams participated in interactive games with the audience.

To open the night, graduate guard Sean East II successfully defended his crown as Mizzou Madness’ 3-point Shootout Champion, beating out graduate forward Hayley Frank 13-12 to go back-to-back in the competition.

Following the 3-point shootout, several young Tiger fans competed in a dunk contest in front of judges – Mizzou alum and SportsCenter host John Anderson, Heisman-winner and current ESPN analyst Robert Griffin III, former Missouri basketball players Lindsey Cunningham, Tre Gomillion and Ben Sternberg, as well as current members of the men’s and women’s squads, sophomore forward Aidan Shaw and senior guard Mama Dembele.

Closing the night, members of the audience joined players from each team as they went head-to-head in a skills challenge in addition to a live performance of Mr. Brightside and a laser show on the Columns.


Whitten Family Head Men’s Basketball Coach Dennis Gates

On Mizzou Madness…
“I definitely appreciate our fans coming out and showing what they can do and supporting our programs, men’s and women’s. It’s what makes our institution and our programs special. It really is a competitive advantage.”

On Packing Mizzou arena…
“Their consistency is what allowed us to build momentum at the very beginning of the season when we didn’t know each other, and it got us through some moments. This upcoming season, our schedule is probably more difficult than it was last year. We’re going to need every ounce of our talents. We’re going to need every ounce of our home court advantage to be able to send fans home with a W.”

Graduate forward Noah Carter
On Ben Sternberg and Tre Gomillion being present…
“Yeah, those are my brothers. They’re gonna be my brothers for life. The bonds and the connections that we made last year are gonna last forever. I’m happy they got up here and I’m happy I was able to see them”

On stepping into a leadership role this year…
“Yeah I’ve actually really been enjoying just being a leader and being there for the younger guys. I want to be like that big brother that if they have any questions, just come ask me. I’m here to help you. And you know, I’ve really been enjoying being able to get on them as well because I know what they’re capable of now. It was really nice this summer being able to go to Jamaica and really learn a lot about each other. So it’s being able to have time to think and really understand what gets them going or what they need. So yeah, I’ve really enjoyed my role and I’m really looking forward to having that role throughout the year.

Women’s Basketball Head Coach Robin Pingeton

On how the atmosphere of the event excites the team for the coming season
“I think they’re looking forward to it. This team has done more outside of what’s required than any team I think I’ve ever coached. And so like I said, they understand the work ethic that has to go into this, but at the same time, it’s fun to know that the season is right around the corner. And so I think they’re getting pretty excited about finally being close to tip off.”

On the veteran presence on the team…
“They’ve done a tremendous job. We’ve got six returning players that I think had a great foundation and they are hungry. I think they really set the tone in the offseason in June and July. But honestly, these connections have been really organic and I think that’s the coolest thing as a coach. You certainly got to create that space and carve out that those opportunities to build those relationships and connectivity. But this has happened really organically, and pretty quickly for so many new players. Our returners have done a tremendous job of just kind of wrapping their arms around the new players and showing the way. But they are probably the most mature team I’ve ever coached. We’ve got some veterans, but we’ve also got three grad transfers, and so there’s definitely a maturity there. I think our incoming freshman class is mature beyond their years, and they’re bringing a  businesslike approach. They come in, they get after it, and they compete, but they really support each other at the same time.”

On Ashton Judd and Averi Kroenke’s sophomore season…
“That experience is so hard to replace, and I think there’s a lot of growth that happens in that freshman year. You get the lay of the land, you get comfortable with college life, the academic schedules, and the longer season. I think they are both very mature for their age. Ashton and Averi both had a tremendous offseason. The amount of work that they put in outside of what was required is pretty darn special, and I know that they’re excited about the season. I’m really looking forward to the opportunities that are in the process.”

This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics