Sports, Winter, Basketball

Backyard Basketball Connects BC Basketball Programs With Students Ahead of Upcoming Seasons

With opening night approaching, basketball is officially back in Chestnut Hill. 

Well, almost. 

Boston College men’s and women’s basketball kicked off their seasons Thursday with Backyard Basketball on the Upper Campus basketball court. 

Similar to BC Athletics’ Ice Jam event of years past, Backyard Basketball aimed to generate excitement about BC’s basketball programs’ upcoming seasons. Both the men’s and the women’s teams open their seasons on Nov. 7 in Conte Forum. The men’s team will face Cornell, while the women’s team will take on UMass Lowell. 

“It was a good time to kind of get our [men’s] team and the girls kind of connected with all these new people, especially freshmen,” BC men’s basketball player Jaeden Zackery said. “It’s kind of nice to have it on Upper to kind of get all the new people to hopefully come to the games this season.” 

Around 150 people attended the event—mostly BC students—as well as members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams. BC’s basketball players played with and against BC students in backyard-style basketball games, including a free-throw competition, 3-point shootout, knockout, and a half-court shot challenge. 

“It’s fun to interact with the guys [BC basketball players],” said Andrew Kynes, MCAS ’23. “It was a good time. They should do more of this stuff—you know, get the players involved in the community.” 

Along with the games, free food—which included pizza and sausages—was provided to the first 100 students, and students could win prizes such as  BC basketball lanyards, koozies, and bobbleheads in a spin-the-wheel game. The lively atmosphere helped draw in the surrounding crowds.  

“It looked interesting,” Rory Charbonneau, LSEHD ’26 said. “And I heard there was gonna be fun games and free food. It’s definitely entertaining to watch the athletes and everybody.”

Upper Campus’ convenient location was also an added bonus. 

“I’m kinda like right outside over there,” Brendan Richardson, CSOM ’26, said as the reason he noticed the event. “And I’m just excited about BC basketball in general.” 

Toward the end of the event, women’s head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee addressed the crowd. In reference to BC men’s and women’s basketball placing 13th in the ACC preseason poll, Bernabei-McNamee had a few words.

“Let’s go kick some ass this year,” she said, while the crowd let out a roar.

The organized games commenced with Zackery matching up against women’s basketball player Kaylah Ivey in a free-throw shooting challenge.

Students got to participate next, as Joey Nassar, CSOM ’26, was paired with BC guard Mason Madsen for a 3-pointer contest. 

“Didn’t really expect to go on [the court],” Nassar said. “They kind of threw me on there, but I tried to hit as many shots as I could. Hit the rim a few times. So it’d say it was a pretty positive experience.” 

A game of knockout featured 10 BC students, who appeared to hold their own against BC’s players. Student Jamal Aden, MCAS ’26, made it to the round of four only to be eliminated by Makai Ashton-Langford, one of BC’s top returning players on the men’s side. 

“I had a great run,” Aden said with a laugh. “I wasn’t really doing anything, so that’s why I came out here. And after that game, I’m tired right now, but that was a fun game.”

The final event was a half-court competition, in which Kynes hit the only shot to win the event as House of Pain’s “Jump Around” echoed throughout the outdoor scene. 

“I’ll make sure to be at every single home game,” Aden said.

October 21, 2022