The Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi men and women’s basketball teams invaded the Island as they marked the beginning of their 2017-2018 seasons.
Islander Invasion is an annual event that allows the students and community to come out and meet the teams and enjoy some festivities prior. Grub Burger presented the event for the Island and the festivities kicked off at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 in front of the Dugan Wellness Center with a tailgate party to get acquainted with everyone. As part of the pre-Invasion activities, Islander fans had the opportunity to interact with all the Islander teams as they each hosted their own activity to help celebrate the Invasion. Free food was also provided by Islander Athletics while supplies lasted.
Senior marketing major Steven Dietz took time out of his busy schedule to check out the Islander Invasion festivities.
“This is a great way to bring to students together and to help everyone get acquainted with all the sports in general,” Dietz said. “It also gets people excited for the basketball season; I look forward to attending the games this season.”
Freshman pre-nursing Major Aubrey Villanueva said she was surprised with how many people attended and how many sports the school had.
“I really enjoyed this event because I got a chance to meet a lot of different people and see all the different sports that our school has to offer,” Villanueva said. “They were also giving away a lot of free stuff, so I’m really glad I got to come out and support the Islanders.”
After the tailgate festivities, the Islander Invasion officially began. The men’s and women’s teams were introduced and the games began. The invasion started off with a 3-point contest with senior guard Brittany Mbamalu and redshirt sophomore guard Kareem South teaming up for the win.
“Islander Invasion definitely brings everyone all together and gets that excitement going for the season to start,” Mbamalu said. “I think we are going to have a lot of depth and experience this year and the connection is good with all the team so I look forward to seeing what we bring to the table this season.”
Senior guard Joseph Kilgore came out on top in the slam dunk contest. He said he can’t wait for the season to start off.
“Islander Invasion really brings excitement and attention to basketball season by the kickoff,” Kilgore said. “We just try to make sure everyone knows what time it is and we just want to go and represent the city right.”
The Islanders will look to build on their historic 2016-2017 season that saw them take a trip to the College Insider.com Tournament (CIT) championship game and a 24-12 record. They will also look to protect their homecourt where they were 16-2 during the 2016-2017 campaign.
The regular season kicks off on Nov. 2 where Islanders will face the Javelinas of local rival Texas A&M University-Kingsville at the American Bank Center at 7 p.m. The team has been working all off-season and they feel up to the task. Kilgore said he believes in this year’s group of players and expects them to make an impact.
“I feel good. I’m confident with the guys we’ve got around us,” Kilgore said. “They’re ready to play. I know, win or lose, they’re going to be ready to go every game.”