The ASU men’s basketball team is looking for a few good places to play. Know of any? You might want to contact coach Rob Evans.
The Sun Devils staged their first practice at Marcos de Niza High School. This week, after getting a few practices on their home court, they’ll practice Friday at the Student Recreation Center on the south side of campus, then they’ll move across Tempe to McClintock High School on Saturday.
The reason they’re wandering: Their home floor is heavily scheduled for practices and games for other sports.
The upside is that they’re getting to know the community.
Otherwise, "There’s no advantage to it," Evans said. "It’s difficult because it changes your routine.
"It’s not the ideal situation for us. But we do what we have to do."
The ever-changing practice sites can make it difficult to get the whole team together, because players who already have conflicts between practice and academic demands have to miss extra time to commute, Evans said.
The problem is most noticeable in December, when the team is kicked out of its building for a week to make way for the mid-year graduation ceremonies.
There’s a long-proposed solution to this: A practice facility, one that would be reserved for the men’s and women’s teams.
More and more schools have them; for example, Arizona is raising money for one, Evans said.
Guard Kevin Kruger is familiar with the concept; UNLV — where his dad, Lon, is is the coach — has one in the same complex where the team plays its home games.
"You can use it whenever you want, for as long as you want," Kruger said.
The biggest impact a practice gym (or the lack of one) can have might be on recruiting.
"It’s used against you," Evans said. "It’s a small margin why kids go to a place and why they don’t. Anything like that makes a big difference in recruiting."
Evans said he’s not sure of the cost, but that the building wouldn’t need seats, "just a court and four goals."
Until this happens, they’ll keep searching for places to play.
A few years ago, "We had it on the drawing board," said Tom Collins, the school’s senior associate athletic director.
The practice facility was to be built on the east side of their current building and to be shared with other sports. Eventually, the gym was built on another part of campus, but the basketball teams are not among those with access to it.
Lisa Love, the school’s vice president for athletics, now is reviewing proposed capital projects such as the basketball practice gym so athletic department officials can prioritize what they want to happen, Collins said.