- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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(Fair warning: This is the last post I'll write about this weekend's Midnight Madness festivities. Probably.)
This weekend, Butler coach Brad Stevens chose to eschew Midnight Madness altogether, instead taking his team to Franklin, Ind., for a two-day minicamp retreat. As someone who thoroughly loves Midnight Madness, this kind of attitude is kind of a bummer. What's wrong with a little mindless fun?
But it's also understandable: If you're more serious about improving the on-court product than marketing it, then Midnight Madness is a waste of a practice. Will that waste sink your season? No. But the attitude is what really matters.
It's no surprise, then, that Stevens isn't the only coach with antipathy toward the enterprise. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim also counts himself among the Madness-haters:
"We don’t bring kids [recruits] in, not usually," Boeheim said. "I’m not a big proponent of Midnight Madness. I don’t like it. I never have. It’s a wasted day, and I’m not a big fan of it. We do it, the players like it a little bit, the fans like it, but I’m not a big fan of it."
Matt Norlander, who landed the interview with Boeheim, said the coach sounded "defeated" when he gave this quote, and that sounds perfectly appropriate. You can see why Boeheim would find the whole process exhausting. It chips away at the beginning of practice, it promotes a cardinal atmosphere, and when you're the type of personality required of a legendary basketball coach -- dominated by the notion that every moment is an opportunity to get better -- Midnight Madness must feel like a grotesque waste.
But, hey, guess what? We love it! So just go with it, OK? Thanks.