Championship – The Ubben Basketball Complex was a cutting-edge facility when it first opened its doors in the late 1990s, but while it was ahead of the arms race at the time, it was in dire need of upgrades and expansion more than two decades later.
On Thursday, Eleni M Josh Whitman Hosted a media tour of the newly renovated home base of Illinois men’s and women’s basketball. The athletic department has raised about $34 million of the $40 million cost, and they have full intentions to recoup the rest through fundraising as well.
The building nearly doubled in square footage, with expanded training grounds, coaches’ offices, and more. Whitman said the players’ locker rooms, training room and weight room have at least tripled in size — making each one of the nation’s two or three best areas for size and scope across the college basketball scene.
Ubben also hosts a large gamers’ lounge, which will have pool tables, table tennis tables, and gaming systems such as the Smith Center. The training area has a brand new hot and cold tub, along with an underwater treadmill in between.
Illini is especially proud of what they still put together on the recovery side. They focused heavily on separating themselves in this area.
“Today, the real science is about recovery,” Whitman said. “People are starting to understand better how the body recovers, things we can do proactively to create a better environment for the body to recover. To allow it to come out and work at a high level again.”
Auben’s recovery lounge is still under construction, but it will include a hyperbaric chamber, cryotherapy room, infrared sauna, zero gravity chairs, and Norma Tech shoes.
“There are some facilities across the country that might have one or two of these ingredients. We’re not aware of anyone who has all of these things in one place,” Whitman said. “
The tour concluded with a tour of the coaches’ offices on the men’s side. With staff expanding over the years, Illini was in dire need of more space. They now have a meeting room where they can all meet, instead of going out in the hallway.
in Brad UnderwoodDesk, there is a 98 inch TV on the wall with plenty of seating. Underwood said it was really important to have a comfortable indoor space where he could have intimate final meetings with recruits and their families. Prior to these renovations, the Illini had been renting a place at the iHotel for their final meetings on visits.
With all of these upgrades, it’s giving Underwood & Co. an even bigger chance at an arm’s length on the recruiting front.
“I think some people do the bells and whistles and they are pretty obnoxious. They look good and they look good and that’s it, but they don’t have any substance,” Underwood said. Correct This is a basketball facility. You come to Illinois, we’ll help you get better. You can do that at this facility.”
From very early on in his tenure, Underwood knew that major advances were necessary for basketball in Illinois to get the oomph he wanted with the recruits.
“It’s one of the big push I got,” he said. “We weren’t winning and we didn’t have anything exciting in terms of facilities, compared to the people we were recruiting against. Now, he’s very good. Good luck in winning us.”
On the woman’s side, this can play a huge role in giving the program some much needed oomph. New coach Shauna Green She told the Illini Inquirer that seeing Ubben’s plans helped convince her that Illinois was the right move and that she could be successful here.
“This was a huge piece actually,” Green said. “Knowing, as Brad just hinted, when you weren’t previously successful and don’t have a facility to sell, I don’t think it would be a good place to be. That was a huge, massive reason to take on this job because I knew we had something to do. sold. You’ve already made an immediate impact with our recruits when we bring them here.”
The men’s team hopes to have the same effect on the players entering this weekend. 2024 commitment Moores Johnson He will start his official visit on Friday when some begin Other talented goals He will be joined by him in Champaign on Saturday for the unofficials.