MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Basketball season is almost here, which means it's time for Memphis Madness.
There have been many “Pinch Me” moments for the Memphis Tigers Basketball team since Penny Hardaway was named head coach over a year ago.
His first Memphis Madness was off the chain with a spectacular show and the promise of a return to national college hoop prominence.
This year’s Memphis Madness brings a realization of the beginning of that dream.
The annual event held Thursday night at FedExForum kicked off with a blue carpet experience in the FedExForum plaza.
The event is the unofficial kickoff to Memphis Tigers basketball, showcasing the new men's and women's rosters.
About 18,000 screaming fans were swaying in their seats in anticipation of what could become one of the greatest seasons in Tiger history.
Plenty of recruits were on hand, including the nation's top shooting guard Jalen Green of California. He was there to take in all the sights, including the unveiling of the new floor that will be used all season.
It's blue and gray, trimmed with a huge Tiger logo at center court.
The team itself, which harbors the nation’s number one recruiting class, made their entrance individually among the people in the stands.
Rappers Lil Baby, Money Bagg Yo, Future, and Young Dolph made a guest appearance.
Guys like freshman guard Lester Quinones plan to use this event to get the juices flowing for the season.
“It has a huge effect on us players. Just knowing how accepting the crowd is. The fans love us. The great atmosphere. Everyone’s just one. We’re just one huge basketball city, and it’s just a great atmosphere to play in," said Quinoes.
The season hasn’t even started yet, and we’re getting spoiled by Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Men’s Basketball team.