CSU basketball teams thrill fans at Moby Madness with dunk contest, three-point shootout

Colorado State Ram’s Basketball teams showcase skills at annual Moby Madness October 15, 2012 (Slideshow)You’d have to be pretty good friends with someone to let them jump over you.

CSU freshman women’s basketball guard Taylor Varsho met sophomore men’s guard Johnathan Octeus over the summer, so she wasn’t surprised when he asked her to help him out during the dunk contest at Moby Madness Monday night.

He wanted her to throw him a lob pass so he could jump over her to dunk.

“He pointed right at me, so I stepped up,” Varsho said.

The 5 foot 6 inch Varsho hit the pass perfectly and Octeus (6 foot 4 inches) rammed the ball through the rim, sending the assembled crowd of approximately 500 and both benches into a frenzy.
“It was just spur of the moment, I didn’t really plan it out,” Octeus said. “She was actually the one who said ‘use me as a prop.’”

Guard Daniel Bejarano ended up winning the dunk contest with 113 total points across three dunks compared to Octeus’ 105, but Octeus scored the only perfect scores of 40, with 10’s from all four judges. His other perfect score came on a 360 dunk after throwing an alley-oop to himself.

Most of the evening possessed a relaxed atmosphere. Players from both teams walked out of the tunnel onto the court as introductory videos played, and Reed Saunders, the Coors Field announcer and 2003 CSU graduate who MC’d the evening, regularly bent the competition’s established rules to better the enjoyment of the fans.

The event kicked off with a men vs. women three-point competition won by the men 12-9. Forward Pierce Hornung missed all four of his shots, but guard Wes Eikmeier drilled five in a row followed by four from forward Greg Smith to seal the victory.

“I couldn’t look like Pierce, I couldn’t go 0-fer,” Smith said. “I rode Wes’ momentum a little bit. You see a guy hit five for five and you want to turn it up too.”

Women’s basketball coach Ryun Williams’ indicated that the women’s team had a three and a half hour practice before the event and lost because they were tired.
Three guards for the women’s team ran through a skills course following the three-point shootout. They were required to perform dribble moves, execute a bounce pass through netting, and hit a layup over a defender. Whoever finished the course fastest would win.

Freshman Emily Johnson looked set to take the competition with a blistering 22.4 second time, but sophomore starting point guard LeDeyah Forte blitzed through the cones and open court passages to finish at 20.3 seconds.

“Me and LeDeyah are very competitive with each other, every day at practice is a competition,” Varsho said. “Her first step is amazing and she’s obviously really fast.”

Men’s basketball player Joe De Ciman also competed in the dunk contest with Bejarano and Octeus. He threw down a windmill dunk off of a jump shot that bounced back up high enough to go along with throwing a dunk off the backboard, but missed on his third attempt to finish in third place with 81 points.

Bejarano caught an alley-oop off the side of the backboard from Greg Smith, performed a 360 off of an alley oop, and dunked off of a soccer rainbow heel flick from one of the team’s managers. He never scored below a nine on any of his dunks to take first place.

Fans cheered the loudest for the men’s basketball players and during the dunk contest, but still acknowledged the women’s team during the skills competition with audible encouragement.

Men’s basketball coach Larry Eustachy missed the start of the event because he was recruiting in Chicago, but came by at the end to talk to the fans on the court.
“I landed and said ‘just wait,’ I don’t think it’s that hard to figure out,” Eustachy joked. “But this team is so good they don’t need a coach.”

Most of the fans who showed up were already excited about both upcoming basketball seasons, but seeing them perform on the court only bolstered that enthusiasm.

“I’m planning on coming to a lot of games, I just hope this gets other people excited and more people come to more of the games,” senior civil engineering major Carson Rowley said.

Because in the end, the purpose of the evening was not for one team to shoot more three pointers or a men’s basketball player to prove he can dunk better than his teammates.

“It’s to get everybody to see our faces and come out and support us,” Octeus said. “It’s more for them than it was for us.”