BYU Basketball Takes a Long Awaited Step
For years, BYU fans, coaches and administrators have spoken of the need for the basketball program to have its own practice facility. Those dreams have now been given a path to reality.
On February 10, 2015 BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe announced the men’s and women’s basketball teams would have a new home. The Marriott Center Annex would be built on the road between the Marriott Center and the BYU Broadcasting Building – what is now 600 East.
The annex is planned to be about 38,000 square feet and will be attached to the east side of the Marriott Center. It will house offices for the men’s and women’s staffs, meeting rooms, a team lounge, study areas, strength and conditioning center, training room (with space for hydrotherapy) and a basketball hall of honor. There will also be two basketball courts in the annex, but two half-court practice areas will bracket a replica of the Marriott Center floor.
Not to be outdone, the Marriott Center itself will receive some additional upgrades. Three years ago, the north side stands were ripped out and replaced with blue premium seats and the student section was moved and re-branded the ROC (Roar of Cougars). Later this spring, the rest of the lower bowl seating will be replaced with the same blue seating – which fulfills another longtime wish of fans.
The new seats should be in place by summer’s end and the Marriott Center will see its current capacity fall from just less than 21,000 to 19,000. These new seats will also be padded, wider and allow patrons more leg room.
New LED video boards will be installed above center court. The 24-foot wide by 18-foot high boards will face each of the cardinal directions and will feature two additional boards underneath the main boards that will be visible to the press areas and lower seats.
Practice facility and arena upgrades are the current rave in the world of basketball arenas and programs. The University of Utah broke ground on an 80,000 square foot basketball facility last May. And the Utah Jazz installed new HD screens two seasons ago.
The Marriott Center renovations/upgrades should in place for the 2015-16 season with the annex ready for the 2016-17 season.
These are important steps forward for the BYU program. There is a growing trend in spectator sports of declining attendance. Teams are looking for new ways to lure fans away from their couches and HD TVs. Padded seats with even larger HD TVs is one way. Reducing capacity to allow for more space for fans’ ever growing posteriors is another. A practice facility to help attract more top talent is a third way.
The projects are funded through private donations.
Perhaps one thing for BYU to consider would be to name the new annex to further honor the Cougars’ two Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductees, Krešimir Ćosić and Stanley Watts. It would be great to see all the Cougars practicing on Ćosić Court at the Watts Annex.
Great things are in store for the BYU basketball program.