Hoops open house

Sarah Sherman

“It’s a great time for freshmen to get their first sense of what the university and coach (Tom) Crean are all about,” director of basketball operations Brian Wardle said. “Monday will be a big-time event that I know coach Crean and all the players are looking forward to.”

The event, to be held at Al McGuire Court at the Bradley Center from 6 to 8 p.m., is an oppurtunity for all students to meet the 2003-’04 men’s basketball players and coaches, who will be in attendance to sign autographs. There will also be an oppurtunity to have their pictures take with the 2003 NCAA Final Four trophy and the 2003 Conference USA Championship trophy, as well as receive a poster with the Marquette family slogans adorning it, which will be given away to all attendees. Also in attendance will be the Marquette dance team Intensity and the cheerleading squad.

Wardle, who enjoyed an outstanding four-year career (1997-’98 through 2000-’01) at Marquette and ranks as the school’s No. 3 all-time leading scorer with 1,690 points, knows what it’s like to have a strong student support network. Wardle recently confirmed how much the “sea of gold” in the Marquette student section has meant to the basketball team, such as the 31-1 win-loss record the team boasts for home games in the past two years.

“I personally know that one of coach Crean’s goals when he got here was to make the Bradley Center one of the toughest places to play in the country,” Wardle said. “There’s no way Marquette could have accomplished what they did without the love and support from all their fans. Since I’ve played here the fan and student support has only grown, and has only gotten louder and louder. This student support definitely translates into wins.”

Entertainment slated for the night includes a presentation from Crean.

“The Fan/Future Fan Appreciation Night is a great way to recognize the fans that have supported us in the past while encouraging potential fans to come out and meet the team and learn about the Marquette Basketball Program,” Crean said in a press release. “Our goal from when we first got here was to sell the Bradley Center out on a consistent basis.

“We’ve made some great progress in achieving that and we want to keep building momentum in making the Bradley Center the premier college basketball venue in the country.”

Tours of the Bradley Center will be conducted and there will be other activities to take part in, such as face painting and a Pop-a-Shot competition. In addition to Crean, students will also be able to see the thrilling highlight video of last year’s memorable run to the Final Four, as well as the first unveiling of the 2003 Final Four banner.

“This night is a way for coach Crean and the coaching staff as well as the players to thank everyone who has put Marquette basketball at the level of a Final Four team,” Wardle said. “It’s nights like Monday where students are rewarded for the ownership they took in the 2002-’03 season.”