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Concrete Crazies change men’s basketball forever

Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 17:01

SIGNAL

From left to right: Juniors Nick Bray and Bryan McNatt and Senior Logan McElroy cheer on the men’s basketball team against Towson.


          ‘"You are sitting in the Georgia State Student STANDING section. So… STAND UP," reads the signs placed on the seats of section 107 in the GSU Sports Arena, and in this section stand the rowdiest group of fans you will ever meet.

          Whether it be a simple statement to a referee like, "I don't want to have to make any Rogaine insults tonight," or a slight change of the fight song, these dedicated fans definitely get underneath any opponent's skin.

These Panthers have taken the term fanatic to a completely different level.

        Nick Bray, Seth Wood, and Bryan McNatt along with a host of other hecklers attend every home men's basketball game ready to yell for hours at a time.

 As a coach you can only hope for a dedicated bunch like the "Concrete Crazies" as they have deemed themselves.

       Head coach Ron Hunter called the dedication from the fans "humbling," and said that he appreciates the fact that people have embraced him so quickly.

Bray, a junior marketing major, has never missed a home game since his time here.

      Decked out in the same red jersey, blue bowtie, white T-Shirt and blue sneakers—Bray is seen right next to the GSU Pep Band.

Wood said that he takes pride in cheering for his team and he just genuinely loves sports.

     "I love doing this, and having fun," Wood, a junior real estate major, said. "Some people like biking, we like going to games and losing our voices."

McNatt said that he likes that more people are coming to games, but it still could be a lot better.

     "It only takes a few people to start a tradition," McNatt, a junior marketing major, said.

On his trip to the matchup against VCU last week Bray said that he had never been in an environment like the one at VCU.

       "I've been to plenty of high-level atmosphere games before, like Hawks games and things, but I've never experienced anything like that before," Bray said.

Hunter has brought a new atmosphere to the Georgia State campus, and the Concrete Crazies are standing strongly behind him.

"Hunter is fun and easy-going, and he loves his job," Bray said.

      Wood added that he is saddened by the fact that he probably won't be a student when things get really big but he looks forward to one day after he's graduated, "sitting at home, flipping on the TV, and seeing State playing VCU on ESPN."

      The Concrete Crazies have decided to take their fandom to the next level by camping out in front of the GSU Sports Arena in what they have aptly named, "Hunterville."

       The team of basketball hecklers started setting up tents in front of the arena the night before the UNC Wilmington game in which Coach Hunter coached "barefoot for bare feet," in honor of the charity Samritan's Feet, an organization that provides shoes for underprivileged children around the world.

      The tents pitched right on the corner of Decatur and Collins drew attention from several media outlets including the Atlanta Journal Constitution, CBS, Fox 5, and 11 Alive News.

     The makeshift home not only attracted the media, but also local Georgia State supporters who dropped off chips & salsa from nearby Willy's Mexicana, Chik- Fil- A sandwiches, and Papa John's pizza.

Even Coach Hunter got in the giving spirit and bought the guys boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and gave them free T-shirts.

But Bray did run into some problems with his Mr. Pibb and Coke.

     "We went to bed at around 6:30, and I got up at 8, and I was really thirsty, and I thought, ‘ I could really go for a Pibb right now, " Bray said.

But when he went outside, both the Coke and Mr. Pibb was gone. But not even that could ruin the upbeat energy of this group.

       As the game begun, the Concrete Crazies stood barefoot on the front row of the UNC Wilmington game, jumping up and down to the "I believe (we will win)" chant and provided the crowd with entertainment the entire night.

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