Basketball teams caravan to Ross Park
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 22:09
Members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams and cheerleading squad gathered at Ross Park Mall Saturday for the second annual Dukes Caravan.
The event was designed to promote and build excitement for the opening of the college basketball season in November and brought Dukes fans of all ages together for family-oriented fun.
The adults received their season ticket information and team schedules. The kids shot hoops with the players, taking turns draining baskets as Duquesne athletes grabbed their rebounds on a temporary hoop set up in the mall’s center court.
Senior women’s guard Jocelyn Floyd thinks this is a great opportunity for fans of all ages.
“A lot of younger people and their parents come out,” Floyd said. “There are a lot of fun events for the kids.”
Women’s coach Suzie McConnell-Serio agreed and added that it is also an opportunity for the teams to interact with fans.
“It promotes the team and the University. It gets us out into the community and gives our fans a chance to meet our players,” McConnell-Serio said.
The women’s team, who met fans from noon until 2 p.m., danced with children, signed autographs and performed a group rendition of “Call Me Maybe.”
Things were a little different for the men’s team. From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., four players at a time would sign autographs. Other players helped the younger fans dunk and alley-oop.
While the players spent their time with the fans, the athletic department raffled off tickets and merchandise. Dukes play-by-play announcer Rob Goss provided microphone commentary, announcing raffle winners and introducing the teams.
Duquesne Athletics’ corporate sponsors were also in attendance. GNC and JD Waterproofing sent representatives to hand out information and chat with the fans.
On the left side of the hoop, the cheerleading squad cheered, danced and played with the kids. The mascot made his rounds as well, high-fiving and fist pumping through the bustling weekend mall crowd.
Senior men’s guard Sean Johnson was happy to attend.
“It brings the fans out, you know, sign a couple of autographs,” Johnson said. “It lets the fans know who we are.”
Last fall, the Caravan visited South Hills Village. According to Assistant Director of Marketing and Promotions Nicole Imbrogno, the decision to bring the event to Ross Park Mall was based solely on location.
“We decided to go to the North Hills because we wanted to cover both territories,” Imbrogno said. “If we do this event again next year, we will probably go back to the South Hills.”
Players and coaches had no complaints about either location. Floyd said that Ross Park Mall is “bigger and more convenient for people to get to.” McConnell, who has roots in the South Hills, said both events were very well done.
The women’s team begins their 2012 season at A.J. Palumbo Center on Nov. 9 against Liberty. The men’s basketball team opens their season in Washington, D.C. against the Georgetown Hoyas on Nov. 11 as part of the Legends Classic tournament, part of which will be held at Duquesne Nov. 19-21.
Fans, coaches and players are all anxious for the teams to take to the court.
“I’m ready. New coach, new players, new season,” Johnson said.