Ole Miss and BL Harbert International announced the construction of a new $68.9 million basketball arena on Monday. Coming in at approximately 230,000 square feet, construction is scheduled to begin immediately and be completed by late 2015, with a target opening for the 2016 Ole Miss basketball season.
The 9,600-seat arena will include the basketball court, locker room suites for players and coaches, training facilities, a Courtside Club, All-American Suites and an Arena Club.
Kansas City-based architect AECOM will be the architect for the new Ole Miss arena.
The new arena will be right next to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on the southeast side of the school’s campus. Ole Miss basketball has played in the 9,065-seat Tad Smith Coliseum since 1965.
“We are honored to build a marquee project for Ole Miss that will have a lasting impact on a college campus and its students for the next 50 years. BL Harbert looks forward to working with AECOM and the University in providing the students with another great SEC Arena,” BL Harbert President of U.S. Operations Gary W. Savage said in the release.
BL Harbert recently constructed the Auburn University Arena, which was completed in 2010. AECOM designed the Memphis FedEx Forum and the Seattle Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field.
A new stadium is always a tremendous recruiting tool and with the arena coming right next to the Ole Miss football stadium, it makes for a nice area on campus where fans can always go to attend marquee sporting events.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.