It hurt me a little inside to throw that hashtag in the title up there. BUT. Such is the times we live in. And as the BYU basketball team took the the Smith Fieldhouse court last Friday night, #byuhoops and #boomshakalaka started to light up the Twitter feeds of many a… Provoan? Provoite? Provo citizen. While the hashtags rocked the Twitterverse, Boom Shakalaka rocked the BYU campus.
With the annual Cougar Tipoff scrimmage approaching on Wednesday night, the inaugural Boom Shakalaka event displayed a more free-form and fun All-Star Weekend-esque format live on BYUtv. The place was rockin’, as one can imagine since students camped out the night before.
— BYU Cougars (@BYUcougars) October 18, 2013
The whole night served as a fun sampling of what is to come during the season, with a 3-point competition, a skills competition, and a dunk contest.
Newcomer Skyler Halford showed up and showed out during the 3-point competition, defeating Tyler Haws in the finals to win the event. BYUtv’s Dave McCann and Blaine Fowler gifted Halford with an outdoor basketball with the event logo on it (not gonna lie, it looked homemade/hand-painted). BUT, as McCann pointed out, they weren’t allowed to give prizes worth more than 10 dollars or else the NCAA would get after them.
Notable quote from Halford: “I’ve never played or shot in front of this big a crowd.”
The Smith Fieldhouse houses 5000 people. Hopefully he doesn’t assume the fetal position when the Marriott Center packs in 22K. He’s a stone cold shooter to the max, so he should be just fine.
The poor shooters had TV lights all over, with the arena lights dimmed down. Not only that, McCann and Fowler were having a good old time chatting while the shooters were going at it. At one point, they commented on Matt Carlino’s sweet spot… and he proceeded to miss the whole rack.
Big man Nate Austin got in on the 3-point action… and scored a 6. Something tells me that more than one BYU fan is hoping that this is the motivation for him to start clanging and banging inside more. Something also tells me that it isn’t. We’ll see.
The skills competition looked much like most, with a dribbling course and nets to catch passes. Each team consisted of a men’s player, a women’s player, and a fan. The team of Matt Carlino and Lexi Eaton (and a fan) blew away the competition by more than 15 seconds. It was nice to see Lexi Eaton and the women’s team getting some airtime, as they also have high hopes for a great season this year. She and Stephanie Rovetti were able to get on the mic with McCann and Fowler and rep the women’s squad.
The fans that competed didn’t mess up, so it wasn’t like watching the train wreck audition episodes of American Idol. One kid missed one of the dribbling obstacles, so his team (Anson Winder’s) got penalized. That was it. I’m sure the producers at BYUtv were hoping for some type of face plant to replay on super slow motion. Oh well.
Finally, the dunk contest. At BYU. I know, right!? In all honesty, I’m not sure they could have pulled off a contest like this in previous years. But they rustled together four guys with some explosive hops, and it turned out pretty entertaining.
Jennifer Hamson crashed the party before it all started. She wanted to get in on the dunking action and she threw down a one-hander. She got on the headset with McCann and Fowler and said she’ll be working on getting a dunk during a game.
Not only does BYU have dudes that can dunk, now the women are dunking? It’s gonna be a good year.
Josh Sharp got his wife to stand in the middle of the lane. The guy can jump a lot higher than anyone has probably given him credit for. And he got a kiss after the dunk. So his first foray into the dunk contest went well. He got a 49 for that effort.
Kyle Collinsworth had some good ideas, but just couldn’t get the ball in the hoop. He got a 42 on his first dunk (the 4th attempt fell) and then missed all of his second dunks. Big Russia came close to throwing down a between the legs jam. Pretty sweet ups on that one, but he bricked it multiple times.
The finals came down to Frank Bartley IV and Eric Mika. The freshmen roommates gave BYU fans plenty to hope for. The 6’3 Bartley jumped over the 6’10 Mika to get a ticket to the finals. Mika’s 50 came as he jumped from the baseline and adjusted mid-air to throw down Tyler Haws’ bounce off the back of the backboard.
Bartley was unable to throw one down in the finals, while Mika brought the spectacle. Luke Worthington rolled out on a mini motorbike and set it up on the right block. Long story short, Blake Griffin is to Kia as Eric Mika is to mini motorbike. The freshman big man jumped over the little thing to slam an alley oop from Worthington… and then Mika drove off the court.
It’s been a long time since BYU had a frontcourt presence that could play above the rim. Eric Mika is that guy. He can really get up. Hit your head on the rim hops. That’s what he’s got.
I almost forgot to mention the musical group Can’t Stop Won’t Stop that performed during the event. The dudes had catchy music. If I were to describe them, I’d probably say something like… if a band of hipsters and the Beastie Boys had children, those children would be Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.
Fun night. Good times. And it was on worldwide TV. And who doesn’t have good childhood memories of NBA Jam any time somebody says “Boom Shakalaka”? Can’t wait for the Cougar Tipoff to see all these guys in a game situation.