Best Collegiate Basketball Facilities in America

Ask any college basketball recruiter and they will tell you that the need for collegiate basketball facilities is extremely important. Of course, some downgrade this importance. For example, Rutgers has been one of the hallmarks of NJ basketball for many years and they seem to get along just fine with the aging Rutgers Athletic Center. The dominant question many ask is this: why is a top-notch practice facility even necessary? The answer is simple-because it can attract the best recruits. Although the list could actually be several pages long, here are five universities who have some of the best facilities in America.


The main theme of Villanova’s facility, the Davis Center for Athletics and Fitness, is that it is a place where “we can come to relax and enjoy ourselves.” Indeed, the description is aptly granted as one sits in the La-Z-Boy recliners. They also can utilize the group exercise room to enjoy Pilates, aerobics, dance, and martial arts. The student fitness center features 10,000 square feet of space and 40 cardio machines, free weight stations, and select top-of-the-line equipment.

Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State might seem like a small school, but they definitely went all-out with their basketball facility. They provide all students and visitors with a host of bathrobes to choose from. Moreover, this facility could make a run on the nearest Best Buy or Walmart technology department with the amount of flat-screens they have. And how about those marble staircases?


Kentucky spent $30 million on their facility, and really it’s no wonder. Students at Kentucky realize that their athletic programs are the best, and they definitely want the athletic facility to reflect that. Volumes could definitely be written about this place alone, simply because the Joe Craft Center is an astonishing 102,000 square feet. That’s definitely plenty of room to hang up many more championship banners!

West Virginia

Although many wouldn’t think of the Mountaineers as being one of the top programs in the country, that perspective is quickly changing. While they may not be able to provide as extensive a facility as Kentucky, they are proving to be competitive. Some of the hallmarks of their homey facility would include a fireplace and a 14-foot video board. Add a Gatorade station and you definitely have a recipe for a high-class facility.


Finally, there is Indiana. Their facility is called Cook Hall, and it blows away all other modern training facilities. Moreover, Cook Hall also has the added gravitas of the Pfau Shine Legacy Court, which is a literal museum that showcases the proud Indiana Hoosier program.

Of course, while those of us at the Hoop Group realize that a solid basketball academy is important, we realize that ultimately it is only the icing on the cake. Training the next generation of basketball players from elementary and middle school on up is every bit as important. That is why we offer the latest basketball training camps, college basketball camps, college elite basketball camps, and summer basketball camps to help your youngster realize his or her full sports potential.

Making the Case For and Against Vacating Wins

The concept of vacating wins as a form of punishment has been a debate for a few years now. Some people understand the reasoning behind it. Others think it’s dumb and does nothing to punish a program. There are certainly valid points for both sides. Taking wins away doesn’t erase what a team once accomplished. At the same time, it can affect a head coach’s or program’s legacy, to an extent. Let’s take a look at the argument for and against vacating wins as a penalty.

The biggest, and really only argument made against taking away wins is that you’re not really taking away wins. These wins already happened, it’s a part of college basketball history. Sure, Louisville has to take down their 2013 banner. But as Kevin Ware said on Twitter: “Still got this fat a** ring…” Yesterday, Rick Pitino technically lost over 100 games and went to two less Final Fours and a National Championship. Most record books will still have Louisville as 2012-13 National Champions. The only difference is, there may be a tiny asterisk next to it. In reality, most kids growing up 30 years from now will have no idea Louisville had wins and titles taken from them from 2011-2014.

But if vacating wins isn’t the answer, what is? Many think postseason bans and loss of scholarships is a better answer than vacating wins. The argument on the surface makes sense. News comes out that a program cheated or violated NCAA rules, and people want to see immediate punishment. The problem is though, when a school is found guilty, it’s often by a coaching staff, or player who is no longer a part of the program.

Think back to Derrick Rose and Memphis. By the time a decision was made, Rose, and John Calipari, were gone. Think about Louisville yesterday. Rick Pitino is gone, no players who violated the rules are a part of the team. Why should they get punished? Why would you take scholarships away from David Padgett for actions made by Pitino and his staff?

Truth is there is no perfect answer. Did Rick Pitino’s legacy change with the NCAA ruling last night? Absolutely. But are people going to “forget” or pretend Louisville didn’t win that National title? Not a chance. You can’t punish the current team for something a past coach or team did and taking away wins doesn’t erase what that team accomplished. We want to know your thoughts. Is vacating wins a proper punishment for a team that breaks the rules? Is there a better option? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with us.

De’Anthony Melton Withdraws From USC

In some unsurprising news today, USC guard De’Anthony Melton withdrew from school to pursue his NBA career. Melton sat out all season after being linked to the FBI case in the Fall. In January, USC announced that he would miss the remainder of the season, more news that was not surprising at the time. It’s weird to say a player is trying to better his career by leaving school mid-season, but there is no reason for Melton to remain on campus.

Prior to the FBI news in September, Melton was a projected first round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. He was a well-rounded player for the Trojans last year, averaging 8.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his first, and last, year. He was also good for almost 2 steals (1.92) per game. Melton was expected to be a key contributor to a USC team that was thought to compete with the top of the conference and then make his leap to the professional level. Obviously, that did not go according to plan.

“I have decided to focus on honing my strengths and improving upon my weaknesses for competition at the next level.”

The FBI probe left Melton in an interesting position. In his statement via Twitter, Melton said he reached a crossroads. Ultimately he chose to leave school to focus on improving his individual game. I agree with this decision. Staying in USC won’t help him as much as training on his own will. USC is playing to get into the NCAA Tournament, not to get players ready for the NBA. Anyone associated with, or around that program should have that goal in mind. It’s hard for Melton to have that mindset while being stuck to the bench all year long.

At the same time, he hasn’t played all year. He’s entering the NBA Draft not having been seen by scouts in live game action in over a year. He can perform well in individual workouts, but he’s at a slight disadvantage compared to most players entering the Draft. There’s just not as much tape on him. He’s also not someone like Michael Porter Jr, who was highly touted for such a long time. Melton was touted the Swiss Army knife for his versatility as a freshman, but there’s no second year tape to back this up anymore.

Melton was thought to be a late first round pick prior to the start of the college basketball season. Many recent mock drafts have left him out of their first round, but there will be so many changes that you should not read too much into that right now. I think while this news is unsurprising, it’s the right move for Melton as he sets his sights on the NBA. It will be interesting to see where he lands in June’s draft, and how much he can improve his stock in individual workouts after missing his sophomore year.

Major Changes on the Horizon in College Basketball

College basketball as we know it could soon be changing. What has been one of the crazier college hoops seasons in recent memory could quickly become overshadowed by an absolute bombshell of a FBI report. According to Yahoo Sports, material gained during this ongoing FBI investigation is so much it could “threaten the fundamental structure and integrity of the sport.” No one is sure how or when these findings will be released, but the teaser is alarming to say the least.

This just got much bigger than ten assistant coaches being arrested in late September. This is more than just a couple of players and schools being named in a few reports and wire taps. Remember the reaction when the Louisville news broke? Get ready to times it by one hundred. The FBI has over 4000 intercepted calls, in addition to bank records and other reports. And that’s just what we know.

We know they have information on top of information from Andy Miller, a former NBA agent. According to Yahoo’s Pete Thammel, the FBI has enough to potentially implicate 50 Division 1 programs. FIFTY. And no one appears to be above the law.

“Hall of Fame coaches should be scared, lottery picks won’t be eligible….”

Sunday night, CBS announced their top 16 seeds for the upcoming NCAA Tournament. A number of those teams and players appear to potentially fall on this list of schools that would be subject to penalty. Imagine seeing a Selection Sunday without some of the best teams in the sport? Imagine seeing coaches who have walked a school’s sidelines for years not be there anymore? This could be a reality soon.

It’s not like these reports were ever earth shattering news to hoops fans. Accusations and rumors circulate all the time when a program lands a big time recruit. Whether it’s from an inside source, or a bitter rival on a message board, people are fast to say a school cheated when they land a top prospect. The difference now is there is evidence to support these claims.

It’s almost ironic if you think about it. News of a scandal first broke in September. What followed was one of the most unpredictable college seasons ever. It’s been such a wild year that many people forgot about the scandal, or at least pushed deep into the back part of their brains. This week we were reminded though that this investigation never went away. It’s here, always has been. And it’s going to be big.

Enjoy the next three weeks of college basketball. It may never be the same.

Three Coaches Who Could Win Coach of the Year

In a season filled with more parity than we’ve seen in recent history, a lot of coaches have gone above and beyond on the sidelines. Bobby Hurley looked like an early favorite at Arizona State after blowing out Xavier and Kansas. Chris Holtmann is getting an Ohio State team that was supposed to be very bad into the NCAA tournament. Chris Beard has turned Texas Tech into a defensive power. And don’t forget Brad Brownell most likely saved his job at Clemson with the year he’s having. That said, I think the National Coach of the Year award is a three man race. Let’s take a look.

  Matt Painter

Last year was supposed to be Purdue’s year. They had an All-American and future NBA player. The Boilermakers did have a successful campaign last year as well. They won the Big Ten outright and had a Sweet 16 appearance. Nothing to scoff at. But you’re not supposed to lose your best player and become better than last year. That is exactly what Matt Painter and Purdue are doing.

A big reason for the improvement year over year is Painter not having to play two bigs together. Last year with Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas, he felt pressured to have them both play together, even if the situation didn’t call for it. This year it’s just Haas, and allows Purdue to match up better on both ends of the floor. A second reason is the huge jump Carson Edwards has taken from last year. The sophomore has upped his scoring 6 points per game and has a better assist-to-turnover ratio from last season. Painter may not win the award, but Purdue is one of three teams that looks like a legit title contender right now.

  Bruce Pearl

Like him or not, you have to appreciate what Bruce Pearl is doing at Auburn this season. The Tigers were picked ninth in the SEC this year. That was when Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy were expected to play. Then, the FBI scandal hit, and those two were held out of play. All that Pearl has done is lead the Tigers to first place in the SEC, with a two game lead over everyone else. Teams are not supposed to be good when they lose their best player, let alone their best two.

But here we are. Auburn is good, and they’re getting offense from a range of players. Some nights their leading scorer, Bryce Brown, will lead them. Some nights it’s Mustapha Heron. And other nights its Jared Harper. The Tigers don’t wow you, but they just keep on winning. As Gary Parish pointed out on his podcast, Pearl could lose out on the award because of his ties to shady recruiting. He had his issues at Tennessee and Auburn was named in the FBI report in September. While those arguments are certainly fair, you have to respect the coaching job Pearl is doing right now.

  Tony Bennett

In my mind, Tony Bennett is the front runner for National Coach of the Year. Bennett gets the edge over the others because he has Virginia in the conversation for #1 overall seed come March. This is the same Virginia team that was picked sixth in the ACC in the pre-season poll. All they’ve done since is essentially win the ACC regular season championship and lead the country in defensive points per game. The Cavaliers hold opponents to under 53 points a game. No ACC team has scored 65 on them this year. And that’s inclusive of Duke, UNC, Clemson and Louisville.

Bennett has done a tremendous job taking a down roster and making them one of the most feared teams in the country. They have a make up that is suitable for a deep March run. Kyle Guy is a go to scorer. De’Andre Hunter has been tremendous off the bench. They have senior leaders in Devon Hall and Isaiah Wilkins.  And, the best defense in the country doesn’t hurt either. There have been a lot of great coaching jobs this year, but none of them compare to what Tony Bennett has done thus far.