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Wichita State gives fans look at recent improvements at Koch Arena

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, at 9:25 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, at 12:04 p.m.

Photos

The floor in Wichita State’s renovated locker room is highlighted by the 2013 Final Four logo and a picture of the West Regional trophy in the center of the room.

It’s important to know, David Munroe says, that it’s not permanent. Munroe, who works for The Image Resources Group, designed the locker room and lockers. He is already dreaming about a new look for the carpeted floor.

“It’s just taped in there,” Munroe said. “When I’ve been down there working, I keep telling the players that we can peel that out and put a national championship one in real easy.”

Munroe toured Koch Arena to see his finished work, along with hundreds of other Shocker fans on Tuesday afternoon. The athletic department opened up the locker rooms, video room, film room, weight room and even coach Gregg Marshall’s office for fans to see. The new scoreboard dropped from the rafters so fans could get a close look at themselves on the high-definition screen.

The locker room, updated at a cost of $250,000 from an anonymous donor, received most of the rave reviews. The Shockers now dress in front of 17 mahogany lockers with their names down the side. They can dock their Ipad (a feature borrowed from the Los Angeles Clippers lockers in the Staples Center) on top and charge their cell phones inside a small combination locker. The leather seat — no chairs — flips up to reveal a storage area. In the adjoining team room, they can drink lime Gatorade slushies, play pool on a table with yellow felt and watch ESPN on four high-definition screens.

All around them are reminders of the program’s biggest moments, from last season’s run to Atlanta to the 2011 NIT title to the 2006 Sweet 16.

“I’m very impressed,” Jason Adams said. “It looks like a pro-style locker room.”

Fans lined up to take their pictures next to West Regional trophy displayed in the locker room. One man posed next to posters of WSU players Ron Baker and Cleanthony Early in the team room.

Wilma Hart, who graduated from WSU in 1976, appreciated the historical nods in the renovated areas. A picture of the 1965 Final Four team is part of the locker room collage and former stars Antoine Carr, Xavier McDaniel and Cliff Levingston are featured prominently.

“My people,” Hart said. “I was in the stands as a student rooting for Antoine Carr and Xavier. The men’s locker room is just fabulous.”

Munroe‘s company worked on the locker room and the Final Four display outside the basketball office on the second floor of Koch Arena. The company did the original design work for the history museum and murals inside the arena when it was renovated for the 2003-04 school year.

He designed the lockers in consultation with the coaches, bringing out a prototype this summer for final approval. He likes the black and yellow plating in front of the lockers (and on the bar in the team room), a material he noticed in a sample and filed away as perfect for WSU. What touring fans didn’t experience on Tuesday, Munroe said, was the locker room’s 500-watt sound system with Bluetooth capability that can shake the walls.

“The funnest part was when the players started coming in there,” he said. “They really enjoy it, and they were telling me they can’t wait until they get recruits coming through there.”

Hawaiian vacations — WSU will play in the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu in 2014 and the Maui Classic in 2017, senior associate athletic director Darron Boatright said.

The Diamond Head Classic usually runs over Christmas. This season’s tournament is played on Dec. 22, 23 and 25 and features teams such as Iowa State, South Carolina, Akron and George Mason. Most of this season’s games are televised on ESPNU or ESPN2.

Boatright said he was not allowed to reveal other teams in the field.

WSU returns to Maui, perhaps the nation’s most prominent holiday tournament, after going 2-1 in 2010. That tournament is played in late November. WSU’s performance in the NCAA Tournament opened the door for the return in 2017. The rest of the field has not been set, Boatright said.

“It’s a destination location and a destination event,” he said.

Tryout time — Former Shocker Demetric Williams will attend a tryout for the Austin Toros, San Antonio’s NBA Development League team, on Oct. 19 in San Antonio. Williams, who started 26 games for the Shockers last season, said he is also waiting to see if spots open up on professional rosters in Europe or other foreign leagues. A knee injury kept him from trying out for overseas teams during the summer.

Reach Paul Suellentrop at 316-269-6760 or psuellentrop@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @paulsuellentrop.

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