Sept. 6, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The first day of school is always one filled with excitement and anticipation for U-M students, but for the University of Michigan men's basketball team, the excitement was sparked for different reasons today (Tuesday, Sept. 6), as the squad got the chance to view the newly renovated Crisler Arena for the first time.
Crisler Arena, which the Wolverines have called home since 1967, began undergoing a major face lift in March 2011. With phase one of the renovations to the arena nearly completed, the team got its first look at the improvements, including the new larger-than-life, high-definition (HD) video scoreboards.
The first phase also addressed the highest priority infrastructure needs such as repairs to the roof, electrical, plumbing and air handling systems. Lower bowl seats were also replaced, with the expansion of seating for people with disabilities, addition of hand rails and other code related issues.
Following the unveiling and a team meeting today, the squad held its first practice at the arena.
The excitement is sure to elevate when the new Player Development Center (PDC) opens its doors in mid-October. The state-of-the-art practice facility will include two basketball practice courts, team locker rooms, a video theater, spaces for strength and conditioning, athletic medicine and coaching and staff offices.
With a little more than two months until the Wolverines kick off the 2011 season on their home court, the Wolverines gave their thoughts on the new look at Crisler:
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
On his first impressions of the remodeled arena ... "It just seems like more of a home-court advantage. It looks like the fans are really on us. I love the look of it. The floor looks tremendous. I love the feel right now and I can tell by looking at the players faces that they feel the same way."
On the opportunity to play in the remodeled facility ... "How many times do you get the opportunity to be the ones that christen a remodel like this? This makeover has taken a long time to do. I know I've looked forward to it since the first day I walked in here. This is wonderful."
U-M Senior Stu Douglass
On his first reaction of Crisler ... "It's a complete 180 walking in here and seeing all of the hard work we've put into this program pay off. It feels good to be able to start this season on a good note."
On playing his last season in Crisler ... "Zack (Novak) and I can speak on playing here the last three years. We've loved Crisler, we've loved the facilities, but what we're going to have here with the Player Development Center here soon and with Crisler being renovated is pretty special just to experience it for one year. I know we're not going to take it for granted."
U-M Senior Zack Novak
On how the renovated Crisler compared to his expectations ... "We talked to Dave Brandon a little bit ago and he told us it looked like a brand new stadium, but I really could have never imagined this. It really does look like a brand new place. This is exciting and I'm glad that I'll get to play my senior season in this kind of environment. I just can't wait to see how it's going to look when it's all finished because this is unbelievable."
On what he's looking forward to most about playing in the new Crisler ... "I think is it going to be a much better experience for the fans. I think they're going to be much more engaged in the game, especially the students because we've got them sitting right on top of the court now. Being a senior, I've seen a lot of things change here and just to see this drastic of a change so quickly, it's really cool and it's special to be a part of it."
U-M Junior/Sophomore Jordan Morgan
On his first reaction of Crisler ... "It looks brand new like it was just built. The scoreboard and the floor look great. It's incredible. It's going to be great to see all of our fans in there and get a chance to play."
On having the opportunity to play in such a great venue ... "We work really hard every day and it's nice to see us getting taken care of. Going to a school like Michigan, we have so many great opportunities when it comes to academics, our alumni are great and now we have something great like this given to us. It's like a gift and we have to cherish it. I think it will make us work that much harder."
U-M Freshman Trey Burke
On having the opportunity to play in the remodeled Crisler as a freshman ... "It's really nice. It feels like a new home for me. Coming from a small high school in Columbus, Ohio, up to a major university like Michigan, I just feel real blessed and fortunate to have the opportunity to come in with a great team and a great coaching staff. I'm looking forward to playing with the guys. They have treated me like family, so more than anything I'm just ready to go out there with them and win."
U-M Assistant Coach Bacari Alexander
On his appreciation of the Crisler renovations ... "It's revolutionary to see Crisler back in the 1960s when it was built compared to the extreme makeover that is presented now. It makes you somewhat speechless. You have to thank the thousands upon thousands of athletic donors and supporters of Michigan athletics to make something like this happen. Our alums, our fans and our players alike have a high level of appreciations for a project like this because it gives them something they can be proud of."
U-M Assistant Coach LaVall Jordan
On his first impression of Crisler's new look ... "My first reactions are 'wow' and 'thanks.' I know many people have a lot of pride in Michigan athletics and are passionate about it. They are willing to give and be a part of our team for something like this to be possible. It looks like a brand new place and it's exciting. I know we'll have a lot of pride walking in here night after night. Our guys enjoy it. so it's fun to see the looks on their faces."
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423