Now that I’m a part of the “old guy” crowd who has been around the league for a while I can take a moment to look back at my time in the league and find some of the hidden gems that made my NCDA career so enjoyable. One thing that is highly underrated about an NCDA trip is getting to check out a new area and see what that place has to offer. I may not have gotten to see all of the venues, but here is a list of my top 5 favorite venues in the NCDA.
5. UK – It has been a long time since I’ve been to Lexington. Much like WKU, I recall the campus being absolutely gorgeous, with a very solid rec center to go along with it. I didn’t get a chance to see the entire building so I don’t know what it’s like outside of the basketball courts, but I feel like the Wildcats deserve to roundout my top 5.
4. OSU – Ohio State is another school with a great rec center. Unfortunately I can’t say too much about it because I don’t remember much of the Sunday I had in Columbus (Sorry Felix!) What I do remember is being extremely impressed at a high profile school clearly putting a lot of thought into the design and execution of their rec center.
3. WKU – I admit part of my buildup of this arena is the insanely gorgeous campus that WKU has to surround their rec center. I may have despised my 14 hour drive to and from this school, but my time in this facility was well worth it in the end.
2. JMU – This ranking comes with a bit of an asterisk. JMU already had a fantastic rec center that would most a fair amount of schools jealous. Last I was there it was under renovations, but it looks like once everything is done that the building will be nothing short of awesome. WKU would be my number two if it weren’t for my expectations for the future renovations. I know the league seems to love sticking to Ohio and Kentucky as the states to host Nationals, but when this building is completed and if JMU wants to put in a bid, I would highly suggest the rest of the league plan to elect the Dukes as the host team.
1. GVSU – Forgive me, rest of the league, but I have to give another win to Grand Valley. I did not play on their court while I was visiting, but I got a chance to ref a double header between GVSU and MSU. While their basketball arena is as big as the Spartans would be if they got to use their basketball team’s arena, it’s really cool to see a school allow a club team access to their best court. Especially for a team that has been so dominant.
If you didn’t make the list I apologize, I could only get to so many schools in my time in the NCDA.