UALR Meet the Trojans Nov. 4; improvement to program neded

UALR has officially announced its Meet The Trojans event.

It will be held Monday, Nov. 4 at the Jack Stephens Center. Admission is free and doors open at 5:30 p.m. There will be free 2013-2014 schedule posters and cards. Fans are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to contribute to the Reach 13,000 Food Drive.

There will be three-point shooting contests, the UALR dance team and a dunk contest. There will also be free Pepsi products, hot dogs and popcorn. Players will be available for autographs and pictures in the mezzanine area at 6:30.

Last year, I made 10 suggestions after the event. Hopefully UALR will take some of these, and others, and vastly improve this year's event. Let's revisit them. UALR folks, listen up:

1. Start time. While moving this year's event from 5 p.m. to 5:45 is a slight improvement, it's still way too early. How about doors open at 6 and event at 6:30? Give folks a chance to get off work, pick up their families and come. It seems like your trying to time it so that you don't have to work late.

2. Have the players and coaches stand on the same side of the arena as the fans. Last year it felt like they were miles away when they were being introduced.

3. Separate the men's and women's three-point shooting contests. I couldn't tell you who was shooting for the women last year. It's impossible to watch both. By holding them simultaneously, it made fans have to choose. Not fair to either team. Separate them and crown a men's champ and women's champ. It would have only added 10 minutes to last year's program.
4. The band wasn't mentioned in UALR's info. Why? The band is a part of the college basketball atmosphere. Bring the band and let them set the mood as people are arriving.
5. Turn the media lights on. I admit it, I'm selfish. There's no way to take photographs in that dark gymnasium. Last year's photos look like I shot ghosts in a haunted house.

6. Build some momentum by playing last year's highlight videos. Do we still even do those? They used to be awesome.

7. Instead of having the coaches introduce players, intro them game style with the PA announcers, green screen intros and music. Make it feel like something legit.

8. After the introductions, introduce the coaches and let the head coach speak for a minute.

9. Get some TV/media types and/or former players to judge the slam dunk contest. They might even get it on the evening news as a bonus.

10. Do more interviews like the one Ray Tucker did with Will Neighbour last year. Let us get to know some of the players we'll be rooting for. It won't lengthen the program much. In fact, it will make it seem more worthwhile.