Three Rivers College kicks off its season with Raider Madness at midnight Friday, it is the first time since 2011 that the college will have a true midnight madness.
The doors open at 10:30 p.m., activities start at 11 p.m. and the team's will take the court at midnight.
The Raiders are currently planning to play about 20 minutes total and may split it up into two 10 minutes halves.
"I'm used to this, coming home from those away ball games, you never get in before midnight," Bess said of the late night. "I think all the coaches are excited about getting their season started."
The Raiders return five sophomores in Sadaeys Miller, Camron Reedus, Gabe Grant, Terrence Parker and Kavion Pippen.
Grant led the Raiders in scoring last year with 18.3 points per game and Reedus was second at 17.8. While they return, the Raiders lost a pair of double-digit scorers in Justas Furmanavicius and Jemeereo Spain. Parker and Pippen, both a hair shy of 7-feet and 225 pounds, are joined by freshman Abdoulaye Samake of Bamako, Mali, in the post. Samake, too, is 6-11 and 225 pounds.
Miller averaged 12.4 minutes his freshman season and got two starts as one of the Raiders' better defenders. He finished fifth on the team in steals while being ninth in minutes and averaged 3.3 points.
Three Rivers has two foreign players this season. Along with Samake is Ludy Kayouloud, a 6-7 wing, from Paris.
Xavier Smith and Aidan Saunders, both of Atlanta, add versatility on the wings. Daniel Soetan of Chicago and Mamadou Djakhaby of Raleigh, North Carolina, will set up there as well.
Ronnie Carson, a 6-1 guard out of Lexington, Kentucky, returns after redshirting for the Raiders last year. Sikeston graduate Jeffery Porter will set up in the backcourt, as well.
KaJuan Christon, a 6-1 guard from Hot Springs, Arkansas, is the son of Raider alum KaJuan Christon and the coaches are hoping he will defend like his father did.
David Stephen, a 6-foot guard from Winter Garden, Florida, rounds out the backcourt.
"We've got guys who still haven't got their early running in yet," Bess said. "We're not sure who all will be available tomorrow night."
The Lady Raiders return eight familiar faces, including third-year player Jay Perry. Perry did not play last season after tearing her ACL and is the first third-year point guard the Lady Raiders' have had since Dennisha Rice.
Michael Everhart and Ge'Naisha Robinson are back after leading the team in scoring last year with a little more than 14 points per game. Along with sophomores Camdyn McDaniel, DeNayia Holmes and Destiney Williams, and Three Rivers has a deep and talented backcourt that has coach Jeff Walk thinking about a trip to the national tournament.
Identical twins Jalisa and Joya Smith also return in the post. They will be joined in the frontcourt by freshmen Kabrien Rogers of Naylor, who is also on the softball team, Olivia Crane of Dyersburg, Tennessee, and Kaylee Heggemann of Dutzoe, Missouri.
Freshmen Markeia Porter of Louisville, Kentucky, and Alex Kohler of Paducah, Kentucky, will help out on the wings.
Twin Rivers alumnae Hannah Baxter and Casey Douglas are expected to redshirt their freshmen seasons.