What's New with VU Hoops?

The Vanderbilt men's and women's basketball teams held their first official team practices on Friday. Whitney D. stopped by to see what's new in Memorial Gym and shares these photos.

What's new in Memorial Gym? First, it's a new season, which officially began on Friday. In the afternoon the gym lay in readiness for the first official team practices of the new season.

Down below, there's a new look. Over the summer, major renovations took place in the lower level. Both the men's and women's locker rooms were expanded and enhanced to such an extent that for all practice purposes, they are new locker rooms. Coming into the gym through the player's entrance, the doors to the women's locker room are straight ahead. The hallway to the right leads to the men's locker room (below).

There's always been a training room, where players get treatment and rehab before and after practices and games. However, the renovations included a new training room, which is three times bigger than the old one.

What else is new? There's a new floor on Ingram Court. In the summer of 2007, the playing surface was refinished and re-painted, but in the summer of 2008, the entire floor was removed down to the concrete, and a brand new floor was built from scratch. The new floor is designed to provide more "give" to reduce the wear and tear on the players' bodies during the countless hours of pounding the court during practice. (Click photo to view a larger image.)

Both teams feature new players. The men's team includes five true freshmen and two redshirt-freshmen, Festus Ezeli and Charles Hinkle. There are two true freshmen on the women's team. Photos of all the new players follow.

Steve Tchiengang

Lance Goulbourne

Festus Ezeli

Brad Tinsley

Jordan Smart

Charles Hinkle

Jeffrey Taylor

Tia Gibbs

Jordan Coleman

Late in the afternoon, the women's team gathered for their first official practice of the season.

Next week both teams will send coaches and player representatives to SEC Media Days in Birmingham, and the games follow soon afterward. The men's first exhibition game will be on November 11 against Alabama-Huntsville, and their first regular season game will be on November 16 against Morehead State. The women will play their first exhibition game against November 2 against Tusculum and will host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the first regular season game on November 14.

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Photos copyright 2008 by Whitney D for VandyMania.com

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