TCU basketball finds a new home in Wilkerson-Greines arena

TCU basketball finds a new home in Wilkerson-Greines arena

Twenty minutes from campus, the men’s basketball team is taking on Tarleton State in its season-opening exhibition game—at home.

It’s a new environment for the Horned Frogs, an arena filled with orange seats and high school scoring equipment, but this is reality for the 2014-2015 men’s basketball team.

TCU’s regular home, Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, is undergoing a $63 million renovation that’s revamping the interior of the stadium, but leaving the Frogs without an on-campus stadium for one season of play.

So, TCU men’s basketball is playing at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Complex, a building that seats 4,759 fans and has previously been used for high school basketball games.

TCU’s basketball coach Trent Johnson said the team won’t be affected by a new location for home games, and regardless of where the team plays it needs to compete at a high level.

“The arena is plenty good enough—the rim is at 10 feet and we have a good crowd,” Johnson said. “The only thing that’s going to affect this team is winning games, it doesn’t have anything to do with the arena.”

The Horned Frogs do have one group of fans that is happy to travel the extra distance for home basketball games.

The Purple Haze, the year-old men’s basketball student section, is devoted to promoting the student experience at basketball games, oftentimes through promotions and giveaways.

Senior Andrew Felts said he hopes the success of the TCU football program this year will bring an enthusiasm for TCU athletics to the basketball team.

“There are only 250 seats in the student section, so our goal is to fill those every time,” Felts said. “Hopefully we can take the success of the football team and rally everyone around that.”

Katelyn Jennings, president of the Purple Haze, said she was worried Wilkerson-Greines wouldn’t feel like TCU’s home court, but the new arena is better than she expected.

Felts added that he’s happy to swap one year of play in Wilkerson-Greines for an upgraded coliseum.

Johnson said the renovated coliseum has already attracted new recruits and will serve as an upgrade for both men’s and women’s basketball programs.

“[The new coliseum] is gonna be great, it’s already affected us from a recruiting standpoint,” Johnson said. “It’s been a long-time coming and will be very nice and fit the TCU campus.”

At the moment, the Purple Haze is not offering shuttles for student to Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center, but Felts said a student shuttle might be in the works.

The Purple Haze is using the non-conference schedule to gauge student attendance before offering student shuttles for Big 12 play, Felts said.

The men’s basketball program has been plagued by low attendance in the past, and last year’s 0-18 record in Big 12 play did little to excite fans for the upcoming season.

However, the team returns four out of five starters from last season, will introduce transfers Trey Zeigler, Chris Washburn, and Kenrich Williams to the rotation, and currently has a fully healthy roster for the first time in more than a year.

The coliseum renovation is expected to be finished by the fall of 2015, just in time for the upcoming basketball season. Until then, the Frogs will be playing their home games in Wilkerson-Greines, and Johnson said it shouldn’t make any difference.

“I’ve been a firm believer in terms of basketball and sports, regardless of where you play, when you play and who you play – you need to be ready to compete on a high level,” Johnson said.