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The facility is scheduled to open in October of 2009
Photo by: LSUsports.net, LSU Athletics Publications
LSU Breaks Ground on Basketball Practice Facility
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Published: October 13, 2008, 12:00 AM (CT)
Updated: October 29, 2009, 03:35 AM (CT)
by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports), LSU Sports Interactive

Ground was broken this past summer and construction has begun on the latest vision of LSU basketball, a new $14 million practice facility for the men and women’s team at LSU.

The facility will be constructed by Guy Hopkins Construction of Baton Rouge based on designs by the firm of Tom Holden Architects of Baton Rouge in a unique joint venture with RDG Sports of Des Moines, Iowa. 

“This basketball facility will offer our coaches and student-athletes the type of teaching and working environment that will be beneficial to both,” said LSU Associate Athletic Director of Operations and Project Development Eddie Nunez. “This facility will compete with everything in our conference and around the country as one of the best practice facilities that our basketball teams have the opportunity to use for years to come.”

“The facilities here are exceptional,” said LSU men’s basketball head coach Trent Johnson. “The thing I appreciate the most about it is the commitment of the people here and the appreciation that they have for LSU. One of the things that we’re going to do is that we are going to make sure that the players we recruit understand this commitment and this passion. I was visiting with Ricky Blanton and Rudy Macklin, and they were sharing stories with me of how they used to play in the old ‘dungeon’ (current practice facility). They would play 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 and boy, would I have liked to witness some of those battles.

“We are going to get more Ricky Blantons. We are going to get more Rudy Macklins in our basketball program. What I mean by that is they may not be as talented or as gifted, but they are going to be as committed, they are going to play as hard and they are going to have a passion for the LSU institution. I’ve been a head coach now for nine years; this is going to be my 10th year. I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had the resources, the facilities and the commitment from people as a fan base that I have here at LSU. I think the guys here on my basketball staff have never been in that same situation, so we are extremely excited and extremely thankful for everything that everyone has done to make this happen.”

The facility is scheduled to be complete around the start of the 2009-2010 season.

“I’m a little jealous! I grew up playing in the bottom gym and in the field house. That’s where your game improves – in practice. Having a practice facility like this is first class all the way. It’s going to bring in the best athletes because the first thing a lot of athletes look at on a recruiting trip is the facilities to see who has the best. When I came along in 1976, LSU had the best facilities out of all of the schools I had been to. Now, we’re going to another level. That means other players and All-Americans from around the country would love to come to LSU.”
- Rudy Macklin, All-American, who played on the 1981 NCAA Final Four team

Amenities
The building design emulates the style and appearance of the original Maravich Assembly Center and occupies area not dedicated to any other future use. It will take the place of the two northern pedestrian ramps which will be demolished to accommodate this “infill” project.

Total Project Area is 58,960 square feet of new construction and 1,100 square feet of renovated construction.

Project Cost: $13,913,000 and construction is scheduled to be complete in October of next year (2009).

Each gym can hold up to 800 people for special events.

Each gym is 11,324 square feet in size and includes a regulation NCAA court in length with two regulation high school courts in the opposite direction.

Each gym court is an exact replica of the Maravich Center competition court.

Each gym has two portable goals and four overhead retractable goals.

Each gym features a video filming balcony and scorer’s table with video and data connections to enable instant replay.

A central two story lobby and grand staircase ascends to the second level. The lobby showcases team banners, trophy cases and memorabilia from past seasons.

Also included at the second level is a Pre-Function Room that opens to an extension of the Concourse and can hold approximately 500 people for pre-game and post-game functions.

Other areas of the addition include a Press Room, Men’s Basketball Team Locker Room, Team Lounge, Training Room, Laundry, Coach’s Locker Room and Storage.

Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Basketball Practice Facility
July 1, 2008

LSU ACTING CHANCELLOR WILLIAM JENKINS
 
On the new basketball practice facility...
“It was an exciting moment to arrive at a groundbreaking ceremony because one looks to the future and portends greatness. What is so special about this for me today is in our continuing quest for excellence both academically and athletically, this is a very important development. It will be my last groundbreaking, but a very special groundbreaking for me. I reflected on it as we arrived. I remember being named chancellor and [former] athletics director Joe Dean said, ‘Let me show you a few things.’ He showed me the most decrepit facilities imaginable that spread through or athletic complex. They weren’t that bad, but according to Joe they were terrible. I look at where we are today and there are many people to thank for that such as the leadership of the board, clearly Skip Bertman’s endeavors and those that contributed privately.

“In our quest for excellence, how far we’ve come in terms of our athletic facilities at Louisiana State University are very much a signal of excellence and a signal for our desire to be the best and amongst the best. I see that reflected very powerfully today so I feel honored to be here and be with you to celebrate this groundbreaking as we look forward to the future. I want to take a moment to welcome Joe Alleva as our new athletic director and you will hear from him momentarily, but also take this opportunity to thank Skip Bertman. We are where we are today for many reasons, but not the least of those reasons is the undying, total commitment of Skip Bertman to get this accomplished. I salute and applaud Skip, you for everything you’ve done for us and particularly about getting this facility accomplished.”

On Coaches Trent Johnson and Van Chancellor...
“And now, here is a word or two about our two [basketball] coaches. I’ve been doing the Tiger Tour and I’ve been traveling with these two fellows and have learned a great deal about them. One thing that has not changed, we have two fine basketball coaches. They are fine in every sense of the word. They are committed, dedicated and care for their scholar athletes and epitomize to me, what is special about intercollegiate athletics and frankly, what is very special LSU Tiger Athletics in every sense.”

LSU ATHLETIC DIRECTOR JOE ALLEVA

On the new basketball practice facility...
“It’s a pleasure my first day to come to a groundbreaking on something that is an amazing facility that is going to greatly enhance our ability to compete in basketball. Chancellor [Jenkins] hit the nail on the head. It is all about excellence. That is what we are all about. We want to recruit some more basketball players like Rudy Macklin. We want guys here that can win and put championship banners up. I want to echo what Chancellor said about Skip. Skip, thank you for the condition you have left this department in for me. Thank you to the supervisors and the administration for having the foresight to move ahead with this facility. This facility will not only help our basketball programs, but also our other programs. It will open up the PMAC for concerts and other revenue generating activities that will help the whole student body and the whole community. This is a great facility not just for basketball, but for the whole LSU and Baton Rouge community. With that, I want to introduce to you a man that I’m proud to introduce and a man that I helped hire.  I know he is going to lead our men’s basketball program back to greatness, Coach Trent Johnson.”

Men’s basketball head coach Trent Johnson

On the new facility...
“Before I start thanking everybody, I think this signifies that the honeymoon is over for me and my staff. We start to work here July 1, and it’s interesting that we’re starting the ground-breaking for a new practice facility. We have a team meeting, and we start lifting July 7. I want to thank a few people that have been really special to me in my short tenure here, and there are so many people I would like to thank. Obviously Coach Bertman because without him, I don’t think we would be sitting here today with all of these new facilities. (New Athletics Director) Joe Alleva who hired me. President Lombardi. (Senior Associate Athletic Directors) Verge Ausberry and Eddie Nunez.

“Eddie was the one who took me on a tour the first day I was hired. He’s touring me through all of the facilities, and of course, I’m a dry-old guy and we’ll all get to appreciate this with time, but I told him, ‘Hey, I don’t worry about the gym. That’s not necessary. The rims are 10 feet, and I don’t worry about the locker rooms. The bottom line is the guys in the program need to make sure they’re committed to understanding how all this stuff got to where it is.’

“Well, guess what. It is all necessary. The facilities here are exceptional. The thing I appreciate the most about it is the commitment of the people here and the appreciation that they have for LSU. One of the things that we’re going to do on the men’s basketball side is that we are going to make sure that the players we recruit understand this commitment and this passion. I was visiting with Ricky Blanton and Rudy Macklin, and they were sharing stories with me of how they used to play in the old ‘dungeon’ (current practice facility). They would play 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 and boy, would I have liked to witness some of those battles.

“We are going to get more Ricky Blantons. We are going to get more Rudy Macklins in our basketball program. What I mean by that is they may not be as talented or as gifted, but they are going to be as committed, they are going to play as hard and they are going to have a passion for the LSU institution. For me, it’s an exciting day, but also, it’s a day that we starting working on the men’s basketball program. I’ve been a head coach now for nine years; this is going to be my 10th year. I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had the resources, the facilities and the commitment from people as a fan base that I have here at LSU. I think the guys here on my basketball staff who are all present now have never been in that same situation, so we are extremely excited and extremely thankful for everything that everyone has done to make this happen.

“Coach Chancellor is up next. Understand this because this is the only time I get my parting shot. On the ‘Tiger Tour’ I usually follow coach Bertman, and I’m usually sandwiched between him and Coach Miles. Sometimes it’s coach Chancellor, and I’m sandwiched between him and coach Miles. Coach Bertman has five national championship rings. Coach Chancellor has a number of professional rings and will be getting a Final Four ring very soon. Coach Miles probably should have two national championship rings with the exception of the bad officiating in the Auburn game two years ago. My wife won’t even let me where my wedding ring!”

Women’s basketball head coach Van Chancellor

On the ground-breaking ceremony...
“Coach (Trent Johnson), you better enjoy this summer because these fans you’re talking about want you to win, and they want you to win right now. Enjoy this month of July! I was just thinking as I was coming up here that we have a chancellor who has a doctor’s degree. We’ve got a Duke man, a Stanford man and a Mississippi country boy. What a combination today!

“I am excited to be here. This is a great day for LSU. When you think about all the work that Eddie Nunez, Verge Ausberry, Mark Ewing and all of the guys working for Skip who made this day possible: thank you so much. The passion of LSU fans, from buying tickets to supporting everything here, this is also their day, too, because they made this possible. Without their support, we could never ever due this. From my point of view, we had a kid here on an unofficial visit last Saturday, and when we told her we had a practice facility, that was just a change. You want a practice facility because of recruiting and all of the things that make your program first class.

“For all of you, anybody in this room who has worked hard for us to have this day, this is a great day for us and a wonderful day for us in women’s basketball. Now, we have our own place, and I don’t have to go down there and say, ‘Trent, can I practice here today?’ Thank you very much.”

Former LSU basketball great Rudy Macklin

On the new facility...
“I’m a little jealous! I grew up playing in the bottom gym and in the field house. That’s where your game improves – in practice. Having a practice facility like this is first class all the way. It’s going to bring in the best athletes because the first thing a lot of athletes look at on a recruiting trip is the facilities to see who has the best. When I came along in 1976, LSU had the best facilities out of all of the schools I had been to. Now, we’re going to another level. That means other players and All-Americans from around the country would love to come to LSU.”

 

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