Matta beaming at facility

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Last updated: 09/03/2013 5:05 PM
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Men's and Women's Basketball
Buckeye Basketball Facility has Matta and McGuff Beaming
by Rob Ogden

Ohio State men's basketball coach Thad Matta has always had trouble keeping prized-NBA prospects in Columbus. Now he might have trouble keeping them away.

Ohio State recently completed a $19-million renovation to its basketball facilities that included a new practice gym, renovated locker rooms and a new weight room.

New Practice Floor
Photo by Jim Davidson
New Practice floor in new OSU basketball facility

The project, which was originally budgeted $13.7 million, began in May of 2012.

"Obviously it's amazing to see it all come to fruition," Matta said. "It's a magnificent place from the locker room to the training room to the weight room. It is amazing."

New Basketball Weight Room
Photo by Jim Davidson
New Ohio State basketball weight room

For years, the men's and women's programs have shared a practice gym, which could lead to scheduling conflicts, women's coach Kevin McGuff said.

"For us to not have to worry about when the men are practicing or when they're working out, its incredibly helpful," he said. "Our players have no excuses now. They have 24-hour access to one of the greatest facilities in college basketball."

And that's not all.

The new 3,800-square foot weight room is more than double the size of its predecessor, and will be used by the hockey team and other programs as well, Ohio State Director of Athletics Gene Smith said.

Also new to the facility is a sports medicine room that includes a running pool as well as hot and cold tubs.

Running Pool
Photo by Jim Davidson
Running pool in new Ohio State basketball facility

The running pool is equipped with underwater video cameras and allows athletes to rehab before they're cleared to do so on solid ground.

The two locker rooms, circular in shape, are nearly identical, and were inspired by a visit to Georgia's facility, where a similar design is used, Smith said.

Circular Locker Room
Photo by Jim Davidson

Off of each locker room is a lounge area complete with couches, TV's and a ping-pong table. Also attached to each is a theater-style meeting room with a large projector screen.

Inside the men's locker room, each player's name hangs above his locker. Although one name particularly stands out: LeBron James.

Locker for LeBron James
Photo by Jim Davidson
Locker for LeBron James

Matta said the nameplate is a tribute to all that James has done for the program. It's not a bad recruiting tool either, he added.

Former Buckeye and current Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley Jr. doesn't have a locker, but he was throwing up shots in the practice gym on Tuesday.

"We wanted to bring back our former players and get them involved," Matta said.

"All the guys that have been back this summer are all mad at us because we didn't have this when they were here, and I simply just say 'Thank you. You helped build it.' "

Along with Georgia, Ohio State toured facilities at Michigan State, Kentucky and Nebraska among others to get ideas for its own.

"With any building on campus, If they find out somebody has something better, they just tear ours down and build another one," Matta said. "That's kinda the power of Ohio State."

Photo Gallery by Jim Davidson

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