Photo by Jay Drowns/UVU Marketing
A symbolic cutting down of the nets served as a substitute for a literal ribbon cutting Wednesday in the NUVI Basketball Center on UVU’s campus. It marked the official completion of the new practice facility, but the Wolverines hope it was just the first step toward doing some net cutting of their own soon.
“There will be a day in the very near future where Coach Pope’s team and my team do that at the WAC tournament,” women’s head coach Cathy Nixon said.
The $4.4 million, 14,500-square-foot structure was funded entirely by private donations and sponsorships and will serve as a place for UVU’s basketball players to practice and work out, both individually and as teams. In addition to a full length court, the facility also features a 1,300-square-foot strength and conditioning center. This area contains a variety of strength and conditioning equipment and dumbbell weights up to 125 pounds.
The biggest thing the practice facility will provide UVU’s athletes is simply a constant location to go to work, something that had been previously missing with the other court spaces on campus often being used for other sports and events. Men’s basketball head coach Mark Pope said that in order to achieve greatness, “you can’t work 9 to 5.” The new practice home will provide the Wolverines with the opportunity to break that barrier.
“I walked in here two Fridays ago. It was 5:45 in the morning and I walked in and I saw Sophie [Jacobsson], a freshman point guard for the women’s team, in a full sweat in here,” Pope said. “On a very regular basis, I walk out of here in the evening at 9 or 10 o’clock and rarely do I walk out without one or two or three of our guys making their way back to the gym for the third time that day.”
The facility has already been put to use by the Wolverines before the official opening. Placed across the rafters above the court are shot tracking sensors. They track every shot and every step the players take on the court. According to Pope, within the first five weeks of the building being operational the men’s and women’s teams have gotten up more than 150,000 shots and ran more than 800 miles on the court. That gives some idea of how constantly the facility will be used by the athletes.
I grew up on a farm in Burley, Idaho, but I’ve always had an intense love of sports. I’m studying journalism in an attempt to turn my love into a career. I’m a huge Utah Jazz, Tennessee Titans, and San Jose Sharks fan. If it’s a sport, I’ll watch it.