New Henderson Center Floor Unveiled

Marshall University hit the new floor in the Cam Henderson Center Arena this morning as college basketball teams around the nation begin the first day of practice today, October 18. Ron Jirsa got his first look at his full team at practice and a first look the "new" Henderson Center Arena; refinished floor & new scoreboard with replay screen on the eastern wall of the center, where the Mid-American Conference banners used to hang. Jirsa gave his approval to both the team and surroundings.

Marshall's men's team practiced on the new floor in the Cam Henderson Center on Saturday morning, October 18, 2003. The floor was installed just the night before.

"What this court says to me, and it's a beautiful court, (with) our Herd logo right there in the middle, it's our university and community's team," said Ron Jirsa.

"We, the university, the community, our athletic department are all going to come together to have great athletics. This is another step in that direction. The plan is on playing first class basketball in a first class facility.

"I'm excited, but I'm waiting for the rest of the team to come out here," said Jirsa of his team, which currently numbers just ten players, including newcomers Eric Smith and Tre Whitted. "Walk-on try-outs will be held on Sunday night and there may, or may not, be someone there who might help us out. I am looking for ten guys who think they are a championship team."

Mark Patton, the sophomore forward from Barboursville, was, in a word, excited. "It's really exciting to see all these changes. It's really exciting," said Patton. "The coaches have challenged us to play defense and rebound. I have been working on my shot, and that will help me. I may have to play under the basket some this year, we're a little thin.

Patton is not so thin himself, however. "I've put on 10-15 pounds," said Patton. Speaking again of the arena, he said, "Mr. (Bob) Marcum (MU Athletic Driector) said basketball is important, and this 'new' arena will help us playing and recruiting."

Senior forward Marvin Black was equally impressed with the new digs. "It's like a metamorphsis here," said Black, "I could picture it this summer when I was playing in here, but I walked in here today and thought 'is this our arena?' We've got a brand new coach, a brand new arena and, hopefully, we will play hard enough for a brand new outcome.

Marshall practices are closed to the public, but there will be an open practice on Monday, October 20, at 4:00 p.m. following media day. October 27 at 7:00 p.m. is "Monday Night MAC-Ness," sponsored by the MU Tip Off Club. Cost will be $5.

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