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Adia Barnes explains Arizona’s new ‘Bang That Drum’ tradition

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 08 Women’s Santa Clara at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Adia Barnes beats to her own drum.

So when the Arizona head coach was looking to introduce a new postgame tradition, she wanted one that was unique to her program.

Thus, the Arizona Wildcats’ new ‘Made For It’ drum was born.

Now after every win in McKale Center, one UA player—generally the one who had the best game—bangs a titanic drum the number of wins Arizona has. The pep band provides a drum roll and the fans loudly count along as the player swings the mallet at center court.

“The first game it kinda sucked, so I was like maybe that’s not a good idea, I spent a lot of money on a drum,” Barnes laughed. “And then the second one it was OK, and then it just got better and better.”

So it goes when you are 11-0, off to the best start in program history, and ranked for the first time since 2004.

“I like it now,” echoed sophomore guard Bryce Nixon. “At first, I was kind of like, ‘oh I don’t know how the crowd’s gonna respond to this,’ but I think everyone likes it, so it’s been cool.”

Barnes said she considered introducing a bell instead of a drum, but Arizona State already has one of those, so that wouldn’t suffice. Pyrotechnics were contemplated as well, but that idea was quickly shot down for safety reasons.

“So (associate athletic director of marketing) Ben (Chulick) and his crew went out and found like the biggest drum possible,” Barnes said. “It was the biggest one we could find, they bought it, and then we had the Made For It logo put on it.”

Barnes has proved to be a master recruiter, tactician, and marketer in her four seasons as Arizona’s head coach. Brimming with unfettered enthusiasm, the UA alumna’s ability to connect with the community, in addition to her team’s rapid improvement, has led to a surge of support from the fan base.

Arizona’s average attendance during the non-conference season this year was 4,650, almost tripling the 1,718 it averaged the year prior. Barnes expects the Wildcats to draw even more fans, possibly as many as 10,000, when they start hosting the Pac-12 heavyweights in January.

Let’s hope the bangs follow.

“I think it’s fun,” Barnes said. “I think it’s something that’s just for our fans. No one has it. It’s special and I think those are the things that connect us and I think the fans like it. So now we have the hashtag #BangThatDrum and all that stuff.”