College Basketball Nation: D.J. Gardner

Dee Bost tweets up a Midnight Madness

September, 29, 2011
Mississippi State made the announcement Wednesday that the inaugural Maroon Madness event would take place for the school's men's and women's basketball teams, featuring scrimmages, 3-point contests and a chance to get excited about the Bulldogs.

Fans getting to attend the free showcase have senior guard Dee Bost's Twitter campaign to thank for helping to spur the school to set up the event for the first time.

On Sept. 19, Bost tweeted: "Some of y'all convince COACH STANSBURY to let us have a midnight madness, bc it's gone b live!!!"

Nine days later, athletic director Scott Stricklin announced the Midnight Madness event had become official and gave credit where it was due, tweeting, "@De_Bost3 you make things happen."

Officially, Mississippi State was in the planning stages for a Madness shindig before Bost waged a more public campaign.

But it had to have been a welcome sight for the Bulldogs to see Twitter put to good use after coach Rick Stansbury banned his players from using it last year. Inflammatory tweets led to leading scorer Ravern Johnson being suspended last season and the dismissal last month of top-100 recruit D.J. Gardner, who has since landed at a junior college.

Now, following one tweet controversy after another, at long last, Stansbury himself has joined Twitter after being convinced of its merits (or monitoring capabilities).

Twitter has brought one momentous occasion with the formation of a Midnight Madness, and Stansbury's first tweet will be another.
Recruiting is a big part of Midnight Madness. Few basketball functions can make a prospective player feel so welcome, so needed, so at the center of it all. Which is why many schools line up official recruiting visits with their Midnight Madness events. It's not so hard to figure out.

But you never know what's going to put a recruit over the top. Is it the chants from longing fans? The pyrotechnics and player introductions? The zany costumes? The dunk contest? The way a recruit's mother feels about the chosen musical guest?

In the case of at least one recruit -- potential Memphis forward D.J. Gardner -- that last one might just be the ticket. From the Memphis Commercial Appeal:
Angela Gardner, Gardner's mother, said she's interested in seeing one person in particular at Madness. "I'm ready to see (rapper) Yo Gotti," she said. "This will be my first time seeing him, and I'm excited."

Yo Gotti -- owner of one of the simplest, and somehow best, rap stage names I can think of -- will be making his second-straight guest appearance at Memphis Madness. Gotti, a proud Memphian, is fond of wearing a blinged-out Tigers logo around his neck.

To be fair, Gardner likes Memphis for more than its connection to a semi-popular Southern rapper. She told the Commercial Appeal that her fondness for the Tigers stems from her interaction with their staff, which began bright and early on the morning of Sept. 9, the first day of the contact period for college coaches and recruits.

Winning at recruiting is often about winning over the parents (OK, and the handlers and AAU runners and shoe reps, too) and if a musical act helps, Memphis fans will put Mr. Gotti on repeat until their ears bleed.