Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

The Bounce: Hoops complex a boon for ASU

<h4>Getting in his grille </h4></p>
<p>New Zealand's Tim McIntosh takes a ball on the grille of his helmet during the Third International Cricket Test on Saturday at Basin Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand.

<h4>Getting in his grille </h4>

New Zealand's Tim McIntosh takes a ball on the grille of his helmet during the Third International Cricket Test on Saturday at Basin Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand.

TEMPE – With a hard hat and a notepad, I’ve wandered into basketball heaven.

I’m inside the $22 million Weatherup Center in Tempe, a dedicated practice facility designed to wow recruits and retain top-flight coaches like Herb Sendek and Charli Turner Thorne. It does the job, and then some.

For Arizona State basketball, this place is the final frontier and the missing link.

The facility is tucked away just east of Rural Road, hidden in a section of campus that will soon serve as the athletes village. Teams of workers buzz around in a constant state of activity, feverishly trying to meet deadline. Everyone in the vicinity must wear pants for safety regulations, although rumor has it that Turner Thorne once gained admission in her trademark skirt and high heels.

Inside, the building is split in half, with one side mirroring the other.

On the ground floor, each program will have its own locker room and its own players’ lounge, one that features a giant television, six flat-panel screens and a walkout view to an adjacent outdoor pool.

The coaching staffs will be housed on the second level, and each has an enormous balcony overlooking the practice court.

But it’s the playing surface that really matters, and both Sendek and Turner Thorne will soon have state-of-the-art practice gymnasiums. The school even designed additional space behind the baskets to properly simulate depth perception inside a real arena.

It gets better. Each gym will feature video cameras and a flat-screen monitor, allowing coaches to stop practice and instantly review video. Down the hall, there is a special room for former ASU stars, with lockers for Eddie House, Ike Diogu and, soon, James Harden.

It’s comforting to know that ASU basketball is no longer an afterthought.

The grand opening is slated for May 18, and both programs hope to move in by June 1. At that time, ASU is also scheduled to take over the building on the other side of the pool, which now houses the Athletes’ Performance Institute.

That complex features a giant kitchen and a weight room with rollup glass doors, allowing athletes to lift weights in fresh air while facing a sparkling pool. It will be hard for blue-chip recruits to forget this place.

In a shaky economy, in a year where ASU employees were all subjected to furloughs, this project almost seems too extravagant. On the contrary, it’s completely necessary, and probably the main reason that Sendek seems content to remain in Tempe.

In the past, basketball recruits rarely found any wow factor at ASU. They’d tour Wells Fargo Arena. They’d come off the elevator in the athletic building and find posters of Todd Heap and Jake Plummer. They were instantly aware that ASU basketball wasn’t a big deal in Tempe.

That will change dramatically. And this place will serve as a nice counterpunch to the next head coach at the University of Arizona, whoever that may be.

Some inside the program think the building will be worth two recruits a year, and the claim seems modest. It could give Turner Thorne’s program the final push, turning her Sun Devils into national champions. It could make Sendek’s program a perennial tournament team.

In the short term, I offer some advice to ASU: Keep Dennis Erickson away from this project at all costs, lest he turn green with envy.

Iverson done for year

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Allen Iverson’s season is over.

The Detroit Pistons said Friday the All-Star guard will miss the rest of the season because of a sore back. Iverson missed 16 games from Feb. 27 to March 28.

He returned for the past three games and averaged 7.7 points and 2.7 assists in nearly 19 minutes.

He complained about his role as a reserve.

The Pistons began Friday as the seventh-seeded team in the Eastern Conference.

The Associated Press

Oregon State wins title

EL PASO, Texas – Rickey Claitt was 5 of 6 on 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 28 points for Oregon State, carrying the Beavers to an 81-73 victory over UTEP in Game 3 of the College Basketball Invitational championship series Friday night.

Oregon State made 12 of 19 three-point shots for a 2-1 series win, which clinched its first postseason title in school history. Lathen Wallace added 13 and Roeland Schaftenaar scored 12 for the Beavers.

“I was shooting and everything was going in,” Claitt said. “I kept shooting until I missed. This is phenomenal for us. This rockets us into next year.”

The Associated Press

<br />
<h4>QUOTABLE </h4>
<p>‘We don’t have to play perfect, we just have to play together.’</p>
<p>JAY WRIGHT,</p>
<p>Villanova basketball coach, on what he told his team it needs to do to beat North Carolina in the Final Four on Saturday.” width=”640″ height=”528″ /><p class=


'We don't have to play perfect, we just have to play together.'


Villanova basketball coach, on what he told his team it needs to do to beat North Carolina in the Final Four on Saturday.



Offering Floyd job was just plain stupid

Re: UA hoops coaching search

• Throwing Floyd the job was like a “panic” move on his part since every damn college was hiring this week! Come on Livengood.


I don’t get it . . . 25 years ago Arizona was in the dumps, a horrible b-ball school and we got a Final Four coach in Lute Olson . . . so now that we are a storied program, why are we not at least going for the same caliber?


You hire a coach who will be with you for 25-30 years. This means a Miller, a Drew or a Pastner, and Josh is the best choice. All the top coaches out there want Josh to work for them. That should tell UA all it needs to know.




1983: Lorenzo Charles scores on a dunk after Derek Whittenburg’s 35-foot desperation shot falls short to give North Carolina State a 54-52 triumph over Houston in the NCAA championship.

1986: Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky breaks his own NHL single-season points record with three assists to increase his total to 214. He scored 212 points in 1981-82.

1987: New York’s Denis Potvin, the highest-scoring defenseman in NHL history, scores his 1,000th point.

1988: Danny Manning scores 31 points and grabs 18 rebounds as Kansas wins its second NCAA championship with an 83-79 victory over Oklahoma.

1993: Sheryl Swoopes shatters the women’s championship game record by scoring 47 points to lead Texas Tech to an 84-82 victory over Ohio State.

The Associated Press

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For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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