Oct. 4, 2013
Mike Epps and Ludacris delivered the entertainment and KT Harrell delivered with a deadly three-point shot as the Auburn men's basketball team tipped off the 2013-14 season on Friday night with its Jungle Jam.
Harrell won the 3-point contest with a 19-point final round, beating out Dion Wade's 9-point finals, and then scored a team-high eight points in the team scrimmage. Wade also had eight points in the 10-minute, running-clock scrimmage, with both connecting on a pair of 3-pointers. Benas Griciunas had a scrimmage-high six rebounds while Malcolm Canada dished out three assists.
Jordon Granger was the dunk contest winner, scoring a final-round 85 as judges Charles Barkley, Sonny Smith, Lee Ziema, Clay Matvick and Aubie all gave his first dunk of the finals a 9.
Ludacris and Epps kept the crowd fully engaged throughout the night with songs and comedy that kept the 7,309 fans on their feet for most of the night.
Auburn opens the season with an exhibition game against Victory University on Oct. 28. The regular season beings on Friday, Nov. 8 against Nichols State at the Auburn Arena at 7 p.m.
Season tickets are available online at AUBTix.com.
Relive #JungleJam On twitter @AUBasketball
Post Jungle Jam Quotes
Head Coach Tony Barbee
On the event as a whole...
"I loved it. It was a celebration of Auburn basketball. Getting Mike Epps and Ludacris was big just to bring the energy to the building, and they definitely did that. Mike was funny and obviously Luda is a great performer. On top of it the fans got a chance to get an early glimpse of the team. It was a celebration of The Jungle too. Our student section has been the best since I have been here. This was an opportunity for me to give back to them because I know they are fans of both Mike and Ludacris. All combined I think it was a win for everby body. I think it was a great night."
On bringing former players back...
"It's big. It wasn't just for this event. Last weekend I had my golf tournament for my foundation but this is also a way for me to bring back the former players and to reconnect them with the program. I have always said you don't have a program unless the former players are a part of it. Last week it was big seeing all those guys, seeing Chris Morris back on campus, Charles Barkley, Gerald White all the guys down the line. John Mengelt, who's been great, he was there tonight too. Coach (Sonny) Smith, I was a big fan of his growing up and he has been great now that he moved back to Auburn. All of this, this Jungle Jam tonight, having the former players, former coaches, having the entertainers in, this is part of building a national program."
On Charles Barkley's support...
"I am a big fan and obviously we are friends. He is behind me all the way and that's a good feeling. I know all the former players are, I know these students are and I know these fans are and I think this is a team that is going to make our fans proud."
On the whole night...
"It's exciting. It feels so good to be out there again, to be a part of the team. I was a part of the team last year but to be able to go out there and be on the floor again, it is a great feeling."
On winning the 3-point contest...
"It was fun. A lot of the younger guys were talking a lot of trash going into it. Benas (Griciunas), Dion (Wade) telling me `everybody thinks you're going to win it' or `I don't think you're going to win it.' I was pretty confident. I just said `we'll see.' After I made the last shot in the second round I looked at Benas and said `I told you.'"
On the team's shooting...
"We have a lot of good shooters on this team. I think we are going to shoot the ball a lot better than we did last year. We don't have guys that just settle for 3-point shots, we have guys that get to the rim as well."
On if he got a chance to talk to Ludacris or Mike Epps...
"They were too busy performing and Mike Epps acting crazy. I didn't get a chance to talk to them but it was just exciting to be in that type of atmosphere. It was just fun being back on the floor, trying to show people what you have been working so hard for."
On the team's chemistry...
"We are together and I think that's the most important thing. The team has one goal and that's to win. No matter what happens off or on the floor, we are together, we are a band of brothers and that's how it's going to be the whole year, win, lose or draw."