Oregon's bold statement also a fab home-court edge

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University of Oregon

Nothing’s ordinary about Oregon’s new college basketball venue. Matthew Knight Arena is expensive (about $200 million),tricked out (the state-of-the-art scoreboard is unlike anything most NBA teams have) and idiosyncratic in its design.

I mean, did you see that floor?

The school unveiled Pat Kilkenny floor on Friday, which is unlike any other playing surface in college hoops. In an homage to the “Tall Firs” – the nickname of Oregon’s 1939 NCAA tournament title team – brown and tan trees rise from all sides, creating a forest view on the floor and outline the words “Deep in the Woods,” the Oregon “O” and the Matt Court logo. Of course, there’s a story behind it. From the Eugene Register-Guard:

But designers said it’s also meant to evoke Oregon’s fabled forests as well as the university’s reputation for innovation and irreverence, said Todd Van Horne, creative services director at Nike, who helped develop the design with Nike design vice president and UO alum Tinker Hatfield.

“It’s a nod to history, but done in this really iconic way,” Van Horne said. “It’s a lot of stories woven together.”

The floor’s designer, Tinker Hatfield, is a former Ducks track and field star and vice president of design and special projects for Nike. He designed many of the Air Jordan shoes.

The response thus far has been overly enthusiastic.

“It’s spectacular,” said former Oregon AD Pat Kilkenny, who the floor is named after. “They nailed it.”

“It’s iconic, it’s innovative, it’s unique. I think our fans will embrace it,” athletic director Rob Mullens told the Eugene Register-Guard.

Same went for Ducks fans, who seem to like the idea of Oregon making its mark on college athletics similar to how Boise State’s done with its “Smurf Turf” football field.

As for non-Ducks fans? I can’t speak for everyone, but it is bold, unique … and it works. I mean, if you’re gonna make your mark, don’t do the same thing everyone else has done. Do it with style – and increase your home court advantage.

Good luck to opponents unused to that floor.

(Thanks to Jeff Eisenberg)

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.

Labissiere scores 16 as top-ranked Kentucky beats BU 82-62

Eric Johnson, Isaiah Briscoe
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Freshman center Skal Labissiere scored 16 points to lead top-ranked Kentucky past Boston University 82-62 on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats (5-0) used a big second half to overcome Boston U. in their season debut at No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. One day after taking over the top spot, Kentucky struggled to put away the Terriers early but outscored them 42-29 in the second half.

Labissiere finished 7 of 13 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. Tyler Ulis added 15 points, and Alex Poythress had 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for his second straight double-double.

Jamal Murray scored 12 points and Isaiah Briscoe had 11. Kentucky, which spent all of last season ranked No. 1, scored 58 points in the paint and closed with a 22-9 run.

Boston University (2-3) got 15 points from John Papale. Nathan Dieudonne and Kyle Foreman scored 11 apiece.

The Wildcats raced out to a 10-0 lead 3 minutes into the game, but Boston University settled down after making its first basket and kept the score close in the first half by hitting five shots from long range.

The Terriers led 34-33 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half, but the Wildcats scored the last six points of the period to regain the lead.

Labissiere paced the Wildcats with 11 points in the first half, followed by Murray with 10.


Kentucky: The Wildcats improved to 216-28 as the top-ranked team in the country and have won 61 of their last 64 games while holding the top spot. Under coach John Calipari, Kentucky is 63-5 as the top-ranked team in the AP poll.

Boston University: The Terriers fell to 0-5 against Kentucky. … Boston University missed its first four shots and didn’t score its first basket until the 16:55 mark of the first half. … Dieudonne, a graduate of Louisville Trinity, was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 2012.


Kentucky plays Friday against South Florida at the Hoophall Miami Invitational.

Boston University plays Saturday at Binghamton.

Division III William Paterson forfeits game to protest coach’s firing

William Paterson Athletics
William Paterson Athletics
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William Paterson, a Division III basketball program in New Jersey, forfeited a game on Tuesday night to protest the firing of their head coach, Jose Rebimbas.

Rebimbas, a player for the 1990 Seton Hall team that reached the national title game, had been with the program for 20 years, amassing nearly 400 wins, winning six league titles and reaching nine NCAA tournaments. He announced his firing earlier this week on FaceBook, and the players on his team responded by boycotting Tuesday night’s matchup with Ramapo.

Dylan Burns, a William Paterson student that does play-by-play for the school’s athletic teams, tweeted that the basketball players came out of the locker room for layups lines, took off their warmups, threw them in a pile on the court and walked off the floor.

The following screengrabs from instagram videos that have since been removed show the players leaving the floor:

Screengrab via Instagram

And the jerseys piled in the middle of the court:

Screengrab via Instagram

The crowd at the game can be heard cheering when it is announced that the game has been forfeited.

Rebimbas wrote the following on FaceBook over the weekend:

“It is with great sadness and extreme frustration that after today I will not be coaching the basketball team at William Paterson University. WP has been my home and family for more than 20 years and yet the University has taken action to remove me from the service I love. People I have trusted and served with have defied logic and are pursing my termination because of a misunderstanding over a facility rental fee for a camp that I run.”

“These actions come despite the University hearing officer determining that termination was not warranted. The University has unfairly and illegally taken my right to coach and mentor the student-athletes I love. I am prepared to fight the actions of William Paterson University and restore my good name and that of the program.”