Oct. 8, 2012
By Mark Janssen
MANHATTAN, Kan. - The spiffy Kansas State Basketball Training Facility received a standing ovation last Friday from administrators, current players and legends of the past.
“It makes me want to come back and play again,” said Glenn Marshall (1978-1980). “I’m speechless.”
“Absolute class,” summarized Dean Danner (1976-1980).
Jalana Childs from last year’s K-State women’s team laughed, “I’m jealous, but at least they have my picture in the dressing room. They haven’t forgotten about me completely. It’s something so many players have worked for, and now people are giving back to us.”
In ceremonies before a standing room only gathering for the grand opening of the $18 million men’s and women’s facility, athletics director John Currie called it a “monumental day” for K-State basketball.
He would add, “If you’re afraid to be great, you will always be average. Kansas State is not afraid to be great.”
Then using Bill Snyder’s “16 Goals For Success,” Currie pointed to the new facility in terms of Goal No. 3, which is Unity, and Goal No. 12, which is No Self-Limitations.
Headlining contributors to the projects were Rand and Patti Berney, and Jim and Laura Johnson.
On the importance of the facility, Berney said, “We’ve had talented coaches and talented athletes, but we didn’t have the same kind of facilities as our rivals. I look at this as being a case where we are no longer on a level playing field because we’re now the envy of the conference. I like that situation.”
Johnson said of lending a financial hand to the project, “It’s about relationships and supporting something we care tremendously about. Kansas State has a great tradition, and we have to keep investing in that tradition to build new ones.”
And that focus on continued Wildcat successes, former K-State All-American (1977-1981) and NBA All-Star Rolando Blackman said, is vital to the success of any basketball program.
“It’s always vital to allow your athletes the opportunity to enhance their performance,” said Blackman, who has had his uniform number retired by both Kansas State and the Dallas Mavericks. “You want your players to be in the best environment to enhance their craft. You have to have the facilities that will allow your athletes the best opportunity to be better.”
Ground was broken on the 50,000 square foot facility on Feb. 26, 2011. It includes two full size basketball courts, locker rooms, player lounges, plus offices for the coaches that will overlook their respective practice floors.
Also for the student-athletes will be theater-type seating for film sessions, a 2,500 square foot weight room, plus a sports medicine facility that will include a hydrotherapy facility that includes an underwater treadmill that will be available for all Wildcat student-athletes.
Each of the two basketball courts, designed to match Bramlage Coliseum, will have six baskets to utilize, plus the partition between the courts can open for the availability of a dozen baskets that could be used at one time making for what men’s coach Bruce Weber calls “… a wonderful teaching environment. It definitely has that ‘wow’ factor.”
He adds with a laugh, “Each player will have a punch card and have access to the facility 24-7, so there will be no excuses for not working out.”
Hearing those words was preseason All-Big 12 talent Rodney McGruder: “We have no excuses. We can get into the gym anytime that we want. It is up to us on how successful we want to be.”
Women’s coach Deb Patterson added, “This will impact our recruiting in such positive ways that it is hard to imagine. It will impact the day-to-day experience of our student-athletes in their attempt to achieve excellence.”
Brittany Chambers, who is on the women’s preseason All-Big 12 team, added, “When recruits come in, we would always tell them that we were one of the top programs in the Big 12, but now they are able to see that.”
The entrance atrium comes alive with a historical look at K-State’s storied past that includes 16 Sweet 16 appearances, 11 Elite Eights and 4 Final Four NCAA appearances for the men with 19 conference titles, and 16 NCAA/WNIT “dances” for the women with 10 league crowns.
In conjunction with Populous and Dimensional Innovations, two 20-foot vertical history towers greet guests in the east entry atrium, not to mention cases displaying league championship trophies, plus hardware from NCAA appearances. On the second level will be a six-screen digital interactive display in the reception area.
It all leaves Currie to say, “It’s a leading, cutting-edge facility where there have been no shortcuts taken. It is first class; a new standard for excellence.”
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen or Kansas State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.