On Tuesday, October 4th, the Marriott Center Annex was officially completed and opened up to the BYU basketball teams.
Assistant Coach Tim LaComb tweeted out a picture of the first practice in the new building.
First practice in our new spot! Thanks to all that made it possible. #byuhoops #MCannexday1 pic.twitter.com/gTjos7ETEI— Tim LaComb (@tlacomb) October 4, 2016
Fans, coaches, players all agree that it is a beautiful structure. But, I can’t help but to notice that there is a ridiculous amount of gray space high up on the walls.
This facility never happens without the accomplishments and hard work building the hoops program from the nearly 100-year history of basketball at BYU. So, with all that history and all the open space, the sky is the limit here! How should that space be filled in?
Allow me to make a few suggestions.
Marriott Center placards
Not too terribly long ago, championship basketball teams would be honored not with a banner in the rafters, but a huge metal placard that was placed along the wall at the top of the arena behind the last row in the Big MAC.
These placards were probably 10 by 8 feet. They weren’t fancy. They would simply say, “1981 Elite Eight,” “1951 NIT Champions,” or “1991-92 WAC Champions.” My memory is that around 2005 the choice was made to remove these from the wall and go with the more traditional banners hanging from the rafters.
I’ve always wonder what happened to those metal plaques. Is there a big warehouse somewhere with them stowed away? Or were they simply made into scrap?
(By the way, wouldn't it be awesome if BYU Sports had a dedicated archival warehouse with a bunch more archival artifacts stored away? Is there an active curator for the museum in the Student Athlete Building? Can I be it? Seriously. The other week when I went to visit the Student Athlete Building Museum and saw Shay Muirbrook's helmet, I was slightly annoyed when the note next to the exhibit said Shay had 4 sacks in the 1997 Cotton Bowl — He had a Cotton Bowl record 6 sacks. Call me BYU. I can help.)
If these things are still in existence, it might be cool to take a couple of the program highlights and place them up in the practice gym.
Something to honor Elwood Romney
Most of you reading this are probably wondering, “Who is Elwood Romney?”
The only man to ever be honored as a 1st team All-American twice in BYU basketball history is Elwood Romney. One of those selections honored Romney as a consensus All-American.
Romney would likely have been honored a 3rd time, but he spent a good portion of his senior season injured.
Romney led the Cougars to 3-consecutive conference championships from 1930-1933. A feat that has only been equaled by Jimmer Fredette-led squads from 2007-2010.
Romney was a 3-time All-Conference 1st Team selection. Only Joe Nelson, Roland Minson, Kresimir Cosic, Danny Ainge, Michael Smith, Jimmer Fredette, Tyler Haws, and Kyle Collinsworth share that claim with Elwood.
Romney’s crowning moment came when he drilled a buzzer beater in Provo against Wyoming to win BYU’s third straight Skyline Conference Championship in 1933.
Romney was the first great men's basketball player in BYU history. Based upon his acclaim and accolade for the era he performed in, Romney is simply one of the best to ever do it at the Y. While he played his hoops in the Women's Gymnasium that is still located on University Avenue across from the Provo City Library, I feel that Romney deserves to be recognized with the legends in the Marriott Center. He probably warrants a retired jersey.
I understand that BYU requires a major national award in college athletics to be considered for jersey retirement. National individual awards like Player of the Year weren't awarded until 1957. National basketball tournaments weren't played either. The NIT started in 1938. The NCAA tournament in 1939.
Screen that updates records
Nothing in sports is quite as fun, exciting, and difficult as a streak. I love streaks. I love following for them and rooting for them.
One of the streaks I’m most excited to keep rooting for when the 2016-17 season begins is Nick Emery’s chase for BYU’s most impossible record — Danny Ainge’s 112 straight games with at least 10 points. Ainge only missed the 10 point threshold once in his career. Nick Emery missed the mark 4 times in 36 games last season. However, Emery has reached double figures in scoring in his last 13 games. So, he has a mere 99 games left to tie Ainge. The interesting part of this record is that if Nick Emery has a single game in the rest of his career where he fails to reach double figures in points, Nick’s opportunity to break the record is over. The record won’t be at risk until another freshman who can really score takes the floor for the Cougars. (Could this be TJ Haws?) Until then, the quest for 112 straight 10+ points rests solely on Nick Emery.
(As a side note, remember how fun it was when the entire Marriott Center would track triple doubles and then go crazy when Kyle Collinsworth would get his 10th rebound? Wouldn’t it be awesome if people erupted at Nick Emery’s 10th point?)
Another streak that could be tracked on this board could be for consecutive free throws made. Imagine if the board kept track in practice of how many free throws were made in a row in practice sessions. They could update it to show the highest totals in practice, season, all-time, etc.
Basically, I think a digital record book should be displayed.
The Tresa Spaulding Hamson Block Monument
When looking at the statistical accomplishments of Tresa Spaulding Hamson, brains completely go numb. Especially when considering her blocked shot totals.
The 6'7" center led the country in scoring in 1987 with an average of 28.9 points (19th highest single season total in women’s college hoops history) and earned All-America honors. She is clearly the BYU Hoops blocks champion, men or women, with an unthinkable 494 swats (4th all-time in women’s hoops). Greg Kite, BYU men's leader, recorded 208 blocks in his career. Hamson once had 11 blocks in a single game against Houston as a Senior. In a single game she was 5.3% of the way towards Kite’s 208 blocks. She had 3 games in her career with 10 blocks or more. Talk about impossible records.
After every block in practice by a player, they should have the ability to take a moment to look over and play homage to the greatest rejection artist Provo has ever seen.
As a fun fact, Hamson holds the record for the most points ever scored in the Utah State University Spectrum. She scored 47 points. More impressive? She did it in 27 minutes of play.
Honoring International Play
The world is our campus, right?
Why not have the jerseys from players who represented their nation?
Get Rafael Araujo’s Brazil jersey up there. Charles Abouo’s Ivory Coast. Tyler Haws, Jimmer Fredette, Devin Durrant, Fred Roberts (and others?) Team USA jerseys. Kresimir Cosic Croatia uniform. Heck, throw the Shawn Bradley Germany jersey up there.
Or maybe there could be a mural to recall the time BYU defeated the “World’s #1 amateur team” Russia in 1979 in the Marriott Center.
A shrine to the hip hop artists who are BYU fans
USC and Kentucky are well known for inviting rappers to their campus to shoot hoops with their players.
Maybe BYU could have a corner of the court with relics from the biggest fans of the team who spit bars. TJ Fredette, Jamesthemormon, and Johnny Biscuit could all give a microphone or notes from their drafts to be displayed.
This is just the tip of the iceberg and I hope this gets the creative juices for fans and the decision makers. Because those walls look too bare.
What would you like to see on the walls of the Marriott Center Annex?