Madness in Manhattan returned to Bramlage Coliseum with some music, dancing and high-flying dunks on Friday.
There was a good crowd and noticeable excitement in the building, too.
K-State held a basketball kickoff event for the first time in four years, and it felt like a hit for all in attendance.
Senior forward Dean Wade made the crowd laugh when he entered the arena while hoisting a stuffed Wildcat high above his head as the famous “Lion King” song “Circle of Life” blared on the loud speaker. Then he wowed them by winning a dunk contest that also featured Xavier Sneed, Austin Trice and Shaun Neal-Williams.
Cartier Diarra did not compete in the dunk contest, as previously expected, after suffering a sprained ankle in practice Friday afternoon. K-State coach Bruce Weber gave him the night off. He should return to practice soon.
Trice, by most accounts, was the better dunker. He used big man James Love as a prop and jumped over him for his first slam of the evening. Then he caught a pass off the side of the backboard and threw down another thunderous dunk. But he came up empty on his final attempt of the night and Wade took advantage with a windmill slam.
Of course, Wade was only in the finals because the guest judges on hand (one of them was former K-State star Jacob Pullen) gave him extra credit for opening the contest with a three-pointer instead of a dunk.
Still, it was a fun evening that gave K-State players an opportunity to unwind and celebrate the unofficial return of basketball season. It was obvious the Wildcats were having fun when Weber was introduced with a rap song from Travis Scott. As he danced onto the court, they surrounded him and joined in.
The Wildcats ended the night with a scrimmage. Now they get back to practice.