STARKVILLE – For the past few years, Rick Stansbury has often hinted about the need for a basketball practice facility.
Scheduling conflicts at Humphrey Coliseum, the Mississippi State men’s coach noted, were always a concern, and not to mention the elephant dung left over from a circus he once found himself shoveling prior to a practice session.
Yet, the need for such an amenity wasn’t really brought to the forefront until Ben Hansbrough publicly stated last April the main reason he decided to transfer was due to the lack of a practice facility.
During the offseason when the arena is used for other purposes, such as concerts, graduations, science fairs and orientations, he explained how he wasn’t able to workout or improve his shooting, while adding he was constantly distracted by onlookers at the Sanderson Center, a student recreation facility players often go to work out on their own.
“I’m not going to beat anyone on talent alone,” he said at the time. “I have to outwork people. And to do that, I need to be in the gym. Right now, I can’t get into the Hump, and I won’t be able to for another couple of months.
“I know it sounds petty, but without a practice facility, I can’t get better as a player.”
Those comments ignited a firestorm and became the focus of message board and blog fodder. All of a sudden, it was as if the facility evolved from a “want” to a “necessity.”
And not with just the fan base.
New athletics director Greg Byrne said the construction of a facility, which will feature separate courts for men and women, is a high priority and that high-dollar donors are being sought.