PHOENIX – I spent the afternoon at US Airways Center for the local college basketball doubleheader in which “No. 20″ ASU trailed by 17 at one point and almost lost to IUPUI and the unranked Wildcats pulled off the upset of undefeated and No. 4 Gonzaga.
Maybe we should hold off coronating the Devils as the best college team in the state, right?
Anyway, the Suns’ off day meant Amare Stoudemire showed up courtside for the ASU part of the Desert Classic doubleheader, and Suns owner and UA alum Robert Sarver paced the baseline after taking in his Wildcats’ dramatic victory. I’m sure Steve Kerr was somewhere to be found as well.
The last time the Wildcats played in this tournament two years ago a certain Phoenix prep star named Jerryd Bayless was hanging out courtside with Amare, Shawn Marion and Raja Bell. Bayless of course starred at Arizona last year and now plays for Portland.
Sitting in the US Airways stands with the Suns logo plastered all over the floor made me think about aspects of the college game that could enhance the pro game.
(Random side note: The NCAA pushed back the 3-point line this year, but the NBA three is still a good bit deeper than I would have thought. That’s got to be a hell of an adjustment for rookies)
First off, how cool would it be for pro teams to have a pep band? I sat within the vicinity of the UA pep band for basketball games the past four years, and I think it adds a nice ambience.
I mean, what’s better than hearing your fight song blasted throughout the stadium when your team goes on a big run? (Not that pro teams have fight songs, but they could.)
My dad pointed out this would never happen because of the prime seats the band takes up, and I can’t think of many teams wanting to take that financial hit on top of having to pay the band since they’d be actual professional musicians as opposed to college students who just want to have a good view of the game.
So long as that’s not going to happen, I really wish pro crowds would be more like college crowds.
And why shouldn’t they be since alcohol is actually served at professional events?
I remember that after the Arizona-Illinois game at US Airways Center two years ago Sarver said he wished Suns crowds would have that kind of rowdy edge to them, whereas I wondered why the fans were so quiet compared to the usual bustle I’m accustomed to in McKale Center.
To me there’s nothing better than a college crowd, the student section in particular. At its best, you’ve got creative if not always tasteful chants, tons of energy and a distraction that can make lesser teams come unglued.
I love the fanatics popcorning up and down, screaming just for the sake of noise and standing throughout the entire game, not just when something good happens, only to sit down a second later if the other team hits a shot.
Why can’t NBA fans stand all game and provide a real home-court advantage?