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Basketball Practice Facility Reaches Critical Milestone

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: June 30, 2013
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DES MOINES, Iowa – Drake University athletics has raised more than $4.2 million in funds toward the construction of its much anticipated men’s and women’s basketball practice facility, director of athletics Sandy Hatfield Clubb announced today.

“It is absolutely time right now for Drake to take a stand toward competitive excellence,” Hatfield Clubb said. “Right now, is that time. We’re going to build a basketball practice facility. We have the plans, we have the space and we’re fundraising for that right now.”

The practice facility will provide Drake’s basketball programs dedicated space to alleviate current scheduling conflicts while creating an environment that allows the student-athletes and coaching staffs to maximize their practice time and each student-athlete’s potential. The facility will also allow the Bulldogs unlimited individual access to courts to allow them to continue to fine tune and hone their on-court skill on their own schedule.

“The practice facility is the last piece of the puzzle in so many regards,” said Drake head men’s basketball coach Ray Giacoletti. “It will help the basketball programs in being able to work on their craft at any time,

Current plans call for the facility to include two full-size courts flanked by auxiliary baskets to make the most of every minute of allocated practice time. Off court, the structure will feature state-of-the-art locker rooms, video suites, team rooms and dedicated training facilities to continue each student-athlete’s physical and mental development.

“It’s a priority for our staff to teach our student-athletes the game,” said Drake women’s basketball head coach Jennie Baranczyk. “It’s their chess match and in order to maximize our potential we have to have film. It is a huge tool and we need somewhere to watch that. There is a lot of pressure on them to be a successful student and to do that, we have to be able to put them in the most successful position on the basketball court. For us to be able to practice at any time that we want, we need a facility to be able to do that. It’s something that we can’t not have. It’s that important for us.”

The benefits of the facility will enhance recreational opportunities for the student body as well by allowing the Bell Center courts to be used exclusively for student recreation and intramural opportunities.

“At Drake, this will help the entire university with scheduling conflicts with the Knapp Center and Bell Center,” Giacoletti said. “There’s so many events going on every day that it’s imperative we have more space for the general student population. It’s two fold in that this will help men’s and women’s basketball and the students.”

While the brick and mortar significance of a basketball practice facility will produce on-court results, the facility’s potential to raise the profile and reputation of Drake’s men’s and women’s basketball programs in Des Moines and across the country is extremely significant.

“This shows that we have made a huge commitment and that basketball is important,” Giacoletti said. “To build that culture of men and women going in a getting 500 to 1,000 shots up a day, that’s how you get better. We have to build top-10 recruits and you build top-10 recruits over a four or five-year span with a facility like this.”

That commitment and elevation of the basketball programs has the potential to serve as a monumental shared point of pride for Drake University, its alumni and the Des Moines community.

To date, Drake has received extremely generous support from those three groups to raise more than half of the estimated $7 million investment it will take to construct the facility. To join in the pursuit of helping achieve sustained competitive excellence for Drake basketball, assistant director of athletics for development Frank Pucher (515-271-2138/frank.pucher@drake.edu). 

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