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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Renovated McKale Center court is boring

Savannah Douglas
Savannah Douglas / The Daily Wildcat Vice President for Athletics Greg Byrne led a tour of the renovated McKale Center on Friday. The renovated area will feature new locker rooms for coaches and players, new eating areas, a new screening room and much more. The stadium has renovated seating as well, with blue and black chairs.

Arizona men’s basketball is on a roll.

The Wildcats are ranked No. 1 in preseason polls, they are bringing in another top-five recruiting class, they had two players drafted in June, they currently have the No. 1 2015 recruiting class, they have cool new uniforms and their arena is being extensively remodeled.

Everything is great. Well, except for one thing.

The new McKale Center court is boring.

During the glory days of Arizona basketball under former head coach Lute Olson, the McKale Center court was distinctive and classic. The court featured the very popular 1980s Arizona cactus logo.

The logo featured Arizona in block letters with a shadow and a green saguaro in front of the “I.” Behind “Arizona” were blue mountains that look straight out of Tucson and a red sun.

The UA ditched the block lettering in favor of the Friz Quadrata font, and the classic cactus logo remained on the court until 2009. When the logo was scrapped and replaced with the block “A” logo, it made the McKale Center floor look like the Arizona Stadium field or the soccer field.

Those playing surfaces look fine with the block “A” logo, but the cactus logo was classic McKale.

The change exemplified the sad end of the Olson era as the UA limped into the NCAA tournament for a few years before seeing its 25-year streak of NCAA tournaments end in 2010. Then, the Wildcats had to suffer the indignity of going to the postseason NIT in 2012.

However, current head coach Sean Miller has sparked a renaissance of Arizona basketball. The Wildcats have attracted even more top recruits than instances where this column uses the word “classic,” have made it to the Elite Eight twice and the Sweet 16 another time under Miller and held on to the No. 1 ranking for eight weeks last season.

Now, McKale Center is undergoing major renovation, but the new floor features basically the same bland and boring design as 2009-14. The UA missed its chance to bring back the classic look.

It’s like remodeling your house and then bringing back your worn-out furniture, even though you have the means to replace it.

The UA missed a prime opportunity to bring back the classic logo that fans have been hoping would return for years.

It’s probably a coincidence that Arizona hasn’t been to the Final Four since ditching the classic cactus logo, but last month, the Wildcats introduced new uniforms that are an ode to the attire they wore in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

It doesn’t make sense to replace perfectly fine uniforms with ones that replicate older, more popular ones, while repainting a court with a bland, uninspired design.

It is hard finding something to nitpick about Arizona basketball in 2014, but the boring new court just doesn’t feel very Arizona.

—Follow James Kelley @jameskelley520

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