fran o'hanlon

Lafayette hopes to enhance homecourt advantage with $1.7 million renovation

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Lafayette will get a boost to its homecourt advantage this season thanks to a $1.7 million renovation to the Kirby Sports Center. The renovation includes new LED score tables, HD video scoreboards, chairback seating and new bleachers.

But the biggest change in the renovation is the addition of seating along each baseline of the Kirby Sports Center, which now gives Lafayette a true arena feel with seating surrounding the court instead of the old arena’s high school gymnasium feel.

Although seats are being added around the floor, since the Leopards are going with more chairback seating instead of bleachers, the capacity of the Kirby Sports Center will go from 3,500 to 2,650 and should make for a more intimate feel.

Head coach Fran O’Hanlon sounds excited for the changes according to an interview with City of Basketball Love.

“It’s a huge shot in the arm for our program and athletic department,” O’Hanlon told City of Basketball Love. “It helps with recruiting; helps raise the prestige around campus, which is great. We have a beautiful campus, and now we have a top class arena to go along with it.”

O’Hanlon seems particularly pleased with the new arena feel.

“The bleacher seats behind the baskets are great. It will completely enclose the court, and give it an arena feel,” O’Hanlon said. “The students have a place to stand and make noise, hold signs up when the other team is shooting free throws. We’ve always had a good home court advantage, this will only add to it.”

Lafayette went 19-15 last season with a 10-4 record in the Patriot League. The Leopards advanced to the league championship game, falling 64-56 at Bucknell and this homecourt advantage should help them compete in the Patriot League for many years to come.

Lafayette opens the new digs on November 12 against Robert Morris.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.

Albany’s Peter Hooley accepts Inspiration Award

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Last week, Albany senior Peter Hooley accepted the Inspiration Award at the Coaches vs Cancer Basket Ball in Troy, New York. The Albany athletic department uploaded his entire speech on Monday afternoon.

Hooley had one of the most uplifting moments of March after months and months of heartache.

The junior guard missed three weeks of the season to travel back home to Australia to be with his mother, who was battling colon cancer. She passed away in January. Hooley returned to the team in February and the following month, the Great Danes had a shot at an NCAA tournament berth. In the America East Tournament championship, Hooley sunk a game-winning shot with 1.6 seconds to go.

Hooley, who graduated in May, was selected to give the commencement speech.