To the victor go the spoils.
So, to this point, has been the case at Grand Canyon University where expectations have been ramped up for head coach Dan Majerle and the ‘Lopes both entering their second seasons in the world of Division I college basketball. GCU begins their season next week looking to build off the momentum their 15-win season and third place finish in the Western Athletic Conference.
The Lopes are back practicing in the newly renovated GCU Arena which features 2,000 additional seats in a mini-upper deck and brings the capacity to 7,000. They’ve also added a new video but it’s one thing you probably won’t notice which could have the biggest long-term payoff.
The Lopes will be thundering (pardon the pun) on a new court this season which holds some pretty rich history. The floor was the same one used during NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans back in February.
The portable court was purchased from a company back in Michigan and is a significant upgrade over last year’s GCU Arena surface. It’s slightly raised above the concrete and features padding under the wood which helps players avoid injuries over the grind of the season, particularly shin splints. It’s a softer, more flexible feel.
“This provides a lot of cushion for our guys,” head coach Dan Majerle explained to Sports360AZ.com after Tuesday’s practice. “I think it’s better for their knees. It’s softer. It makes you jump better.”
The nice NBA hand-me-down also serves as an additional carrot to serve future recruits who may be deciding between the Lopes and another school. It’s certainly can serve as a difference maker for a program intent on putting their own stamp on the college basketball landscape.
“Everything they do here helps with recruiting,” senior Jerome Garrison said. “Based off of adding the 2,000 seats, the new court, the marketing they do…what kid doesn’t like that?”