ZZU Mania excites fans

Fans packed Bohler Gym for night of basketball fun



WSU forward Ula Motuga (15) participates in the ZZU Mania skills challenge, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, in Bohler Gym in Pullman.

DAYLON HICKS, Evergreen reporter

ZZU Mania took place on Friday to kick off the 2021-22 season for both men’s and women’s basketball.

With a skills challenge for the men’s and women’s team, a three-point contest for the women’s team and a dunk contest for the men’s team, ZZU Mania was able to provide fun and excitement for Cougar parents visiting Pullman for Family Weekend. Bohler Gym, home of WSU volleyball, was packed with Cougar fans for the event.

WSU guard Tyrell Roberts (2) participates in the ZZU Mania skills challenge, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, in Bohler Gym in Pullman.

Complete with performances from the Cougar Pep Band as well as the Crimson Girls, fans were able to participate in fun-filled activities such as a half-court shot, a progressive shot challenge and a game of knockout. 

Even though not every player from the men’s and women’s team was able to participate in an event, each member of both the men’s and women’s teams was there to show support for the upcoming season. 

For the skills challenge, freshman guard Tara Wallack, sophomore guard Charlisse Leger-Walker, junior guard Grace Sarver and senior forward Ula Motuga represented the women. Senior guard Tyrell Roberts, fifth-year guard Michael Flowers, junior guard Ryan Rapp and sophomore forward Andrej Jakimovski represented the men. 

Leger-Walker was able to secure the win among the women, while Rapp secured the win among the men. Ultimately, Leger-Walker was able to achieve the win overall, beating Rapp in the finals. 

For the three-point contest, fifth-year guard Krystal Leger-Walker, senior guard Michaela Jones, sophomore guard Ekin Celikdemir and junior guard Johanna Teder battled it out. In the end, Jones secured the win as she beat Leger-Walker in the finals. 

Closing out the night, the dunk contest participants were freshman center Mouhamed Gueye, sophomore guard TJ Bamba, fifth-year forward Tony Miller and junior forward DJ Rodman. 

WSU guard TJ Bamba (5) participates in the ZZU Mania dunk challenge, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, in Bohler Gym in Pullman.

The judges for the dunk contest were Butch T. Cougar, women’s basketball stars Krystal Leger-Walker and Ula Motuga and Tony Thompson, the former WSU tight end who teaches at the Carson College.

The winner of the contest was Gueye. Standing at 6’11 and being the third-highest rated WSU recruit in the last two decades, Gueye was able to showcase the skills to help raise excitement for Cougars fans this season. 

He received offers from Kansas and UCLA but instead chose the Cougars. Efe Abogidi was expected to participate in the dunk contest as well, but was held off due to injuries and to get prepared for the season.

The men and women both open the season at home on Nov. 9 as the men’s team goes up against Alcorn State and the women go up against San Jose State.