Men’s basketball team plays with students at Rec Center
While hopes are high for the CU men’s basketball team as it gears up for the upcoming season under new head coach Jeff Bzdelik, there is another basketball program that is in progress right now across campus.
The Rec Center plays host to a countless number of pick-up basketball games each day. Often times during the off-season, members from the CU men’s basketball team join intramural athletes.
It is against NCAA Division I rules for players to participate in intramural sports. However, this does not prevent the men from heading down to the gym during their free time and getting into games with their fellow students.
Chase Perkowski, 20, is a sophomore business major who played under former coach Ricardo Patton during his first two years at CU.
While Perkowski will not be on the team this year, he sees the Rec Center basketball courts as an important tool for the players.
“The competition is not nearly as good as it is in the Big 12, but it’s definitely a lot of fun and you get a great workout,” Perkowski said. “The games are very competitive, and it helps keep myself in shape.”
Rather than worrying about their players getting injured, the coaches enjoy the idea of their players participating in pick-up games, as it helps keep them in basketball shape.
“You can get injured walking down the street. You play this game long enough and things will start happening to you,” said Steve McClain, assistant coach of the men’s basketball team. “When you’re over there in the gym and you get in a pick-up game, they just want to run up and down the court and play.”
For the students themselves, playing with Division I athletes is a treat. Jesse Eastman, 20, is in the midst of his fourth session in the basketball intramural open league.
Eastman, a junior finance major, said that he isn’t sure if there is anyone from the team that he has played with this semester, but he “knows for a fact that in the past there’ve been guys that have played.”
“We all compete with them. They don’t far and away blow us out,” Eastman said.
The game play aside, these pick-up games help bring the student body closer together.
The players that the student body go to see at the Coors Event Center are no longer faces they see on posters around campus, but peers that can associate with one another.
McClain said that involving the team with the student body is “very important to us.”
“Sometimes, especially over the summer, when our guys are over in the Rec Center, they end up playing with some of the students, and they get a big kick out of that,” he said. “Then (the students) say ‘I really want to go watch Richard Roby play. I played with him this summer.'”
Eastman agrees that the experience of going to the games has changed for him.
“It’s pretty neat. You got a bunch of kids going to their games now cheering for them that recognize them and know them on a personal level,” he said.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Derek Schimmel at Derek.Schimmel@thecampuspress.com.