University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball coach John Shulman called out one of his former heroes Saturday.

Ricky Hood jogged to center court inside the First Tennessee Pavilion -- yes, the open-air facility adjacent to Finley Stadium -- so the former UTC player could be recognized by fans who cheered him and wife Nicole Mattison during their Southern Conference championship runs.

"This was awesome. I'm jealous but I'm happy," Mattison said. "This gets the fans so involved. I think this needs to be something that caries on from here on out."

The 2009-10 Mocs and Lady Mocs participated in the Blue and Gold Tipoff in an innovative event sponsored by Prater's, which designed and provided a court for the event.

The Mocs turned the traditional scrimmage into a showcase of both teams. The Mocs dunked; the healthy Lady Mocs ran a few drills and fired up some 3-pointers. Random students came out of the stands to challenge players of both teams, and UTC chancellor Roger Brown lost a layup contest to his wife. Dr. Carolyn Thompson.

"It's a perfect way to introduce ourselves as a bunch of kids," Shulman said. "Today it was about meeting the kids and seeing that they're just normal kids."

Behind closed doors

The Lady Mocs will face Belmont in a closed scrimmage today despite having only seven healthy players.

"That is such a great experience for our team because you can work on some many things against somebody who doesn't know what you're doing. You get so much film that you can learn from," coach Wes Moore said. "It's disappointing to know that half of the team won't have that experience."

The Mocs will play their annual closed scrimmage at Auburn against former UTC coach Jeff Lebo today as well.

"It's going to be a great learning experience," said DeAntre Jefferson, who won the Last Moc Standing contest Saturday. "If we go down there and do real good against Auburn, we'll do real good in the SoCon."

Davis impressive

Freshman post player Michelle Davis from Cleveland via North Carolina State has played well in preseason practice and could be a major contributor for the Lady Mocs this season.

"She's done well and that's exciting," Moore said. "Not only is she a freshman, but she's had a year to get stronger and adapt to the college game."

Davis recently was granted a full release from N.C. State, and since she sat out last year, she can play right away.

"It's a bonus to have somebody stepping in and having four years of eligibility," Moore said.

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