Maybe Madness Isn't The Best Word For It ...

The Wizards have moved their training camp to the Patriot Center on the campus of George Mason University for the upcoming season. According to Michael Lee, their schedule includes a college-inspired Midnight Madness.

The Wizards will train at Patriot Center through Oct. 3, when it will have a FanFest and open scrimmage that tips off at 12:30 p.m. The open scrimmage and Midnight Madness event will be open to the public and free of charge.

Which, to me, seems like a great idea. But, apparently, some people don't agree with me, including Craig Stouffer of the Washington Examiner.

Co-opting Midnight Madness from NCAA basketball is a step too far, even for marketing-savvy Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, who is determined to reconnect with and re-energize his team's fans in Washington.

More quotes, and my reaction, after the jump.

Normally I agree with what Craig Stouffer has to say, but in this particular case, I have to disagree with him. This just seems like the kind of thing that can do no wrong. What could be the problem with having a Midnight Madness-like event? Who could it possibly hurt?

Madness works so well for colleges in part because of the specialized, close-quarters dynamic of the university campus. Lots of students, all living together and staying up very late most nights, are easily attracted to a readily accessible arena for a season-opening pep rally, especially when their team is good.

But even if a couple thousand George Mason students can be persuaded to walk from their dorms to Patriot Center to see Wall do his tea-kettle fist dance, dunk and throw alley-oops to JaVale McGee, it will be harder to convince the working masses who make up the Wizards' fan base to drive out to Fairfax -- on a Monday night, no less -- just to see a faux practice.

The beginning part, is certainly something I can agree with. Having graduated from the University of Maryland, I can relate to how good a Midnight Madness event can be when there are a lot of students in attendance who are excited for the upcoming season.

But at the same time, who cares if the stadium isn't absolutely filled to the rafters? Fans who can find time in their schedule will find a way to make it out to the Patriot Center. If they can't, then there is no harm in waiting to see the team in the first preseason game.

But there is absolutely nothing wrong with Ted Leonsis providing the fans more access to the team.

In John Wall, the Wizards finally have an asset that fans are dying to see. Providing an opportunity for fans to see him before he takes the court for the first time, and doing so in an environment that is both unusual to the pro game and familiar to college basketball fans, can only be a good thing.

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