The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

March 17, 2013

DACC hosts NJCAA tournament for 20th year

BY BRITTNEY HENTON
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — The city of Danville is poised this week to play host for the 20th consecutive year to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Men’s National Basketball Tournament.

Tournament director Dick Shockey said the fact the tournament has returned for its 20th year means the Danville area does a great job.

“The teams always tell us how good the hospitality is in Danville,” Shockey said.

Shockey said participating teams will come from New York to Arizona from North Carolina to Nebraska and every place in between.

“It helps put Danville Area Community College on the United States map.”

Shockey said they also are expecting 120 four-year coaches to be in attendance to recruit players.

The tournament starts Tuesday and ends with the championship game Saturday night.

In with the new

Whichever day players, fans and coaches step foot inside the Mary Miller Complex, they can expect some shiny new features.

The new features are part of a recently completed $5.2 million renovation project of the Mary Miller Complex, said Mike Cunningham, director of administrative services for DACC. Cunningham said the project was started in 2011 and dedicated in October.

“I think (the renovations) will excite the teams,” Shockey said.

This year, the 16 teams coming to the tournament will have access to two new locker rooms and a new training room. The new rooms are part of the new addition on the north side of the building.

When they walk in, fans and participants also might notice the hallways around the gymnasium are a bit brighter.

Cunningham, who heads all building projects at DACC, said renovators just finished replacing the ceilings, floors and lights in the hallways around the gym last month. They also painted the walls.

Also, a highlight for the tournament’s VIPs includes the new multi-purpose room, which will serve as the new home for the Bob Kay Hospitality Room.

Shockey said VIPs who will have access to the reputable eating space include sponsors, four-year college coaches and recruiters, team hosts, participating coaches, volunteers and members of the media.

Cunningham said the new space is more efficient than the old hospitality room; it includes an area for serving and a separate room for seating.

“The nice thing about the new multipurpose room/hospitality room is that it sits on the ground level, whereas you used to have to go to the lower level,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said more additions include a new concession area in the south hallway of the gym and an athletic conference room, which will serve as the press room during the tournament.

Shockey said the press room’s new location will make it a lot quieter than it used to be.

He said between games members of the media can go into the room and write stories and even tap in to a Wi-Fi network.

Also, when WDAN Radio interviews coaches after each game, Shockey said fans in the stands will be able to hear the interviews over the public address system. He said he thinks the crowd will enjoy hearing what the coaches have to say.

Entertainment

Volunteers also hope to please the crowd with the entertainment offerings this year.

Nancy Boesdorfer, director of institutional effectiveness at DACC, helps to line up the tournament’s entertainment.

She said one of this year’s highlights includes a three-point shooting exhibition; the shooter: a 68-year-old practicing chiropractor from Evansville, Ind.

During halftime of Friday night’s games, Dr. Lee Walden is expected to attempt 50 3-pointers in less than five minutes. He has an average completion rate of more than 85 percent, according to a press release.

“It’ll be interesting for the young athletes to see someone shoot with that type of percentage,” Shockey said. “And a mature person. Well, some of those kids … he’ll be 50 years older than some of them.”

Besides spotlighting different national anthem singers throughout the day, the tournament also will feature different pep bands almost every night.

Scheduled to rock out the gym during Thursday night’s games is the Chicago Blackhawks Band of the Chicago-based hockey team.

Boesdorfer said the music adds to the basketball tournament.

“The bands just kind of liven up the gymnasium, (and it) ties everything together,” Boesdorfer said. “It’s an awesome experience for the community to come out and enjoy.”

Other entertainment highlights include a coaches’ free-throw contest during halftime of both games Tuesday night. Toyota will sponsor the contest as well as two more for students visiting from local schools during the 9 a.m. games Tuesday and Thursday.

Expectations this year

Dick Shockey expects the tournament to go off without a hitch or without any major ones at least.

“We’ve basically got it down to a science,” Shockey said.

In a recent visit to Danville, NJCAA Executive Director Mary Ellen Leicht praised the community for its support of the tournament.

“The shining stars of this tournament are the people that put it on,” Leicht said. “It’s a lot of work. Year in, year out people (continue) to contribute their time. It says a lot.”

Shockey expects that about 300 people will end up volunteering for the event, many of whom will go unnoticed, such as those in the business office who do all the accounting and the maintenance workers who prepare the facility.

He said the tournament is successful because it has a lot of good volunteers and a lot of good committee members, many of whom have been helping organize the major event for years.

Shockey also has high expectations for the tournament’s future. He hopes Danville will see the tournament return to its city during the next bid year.

DACC has the tournament through 2014, but Danville tournament directors will find out in early April if the NJCAA Championship Events Committee will accept its bid to host the tournament for three more years, 2015-2017.

Leicht discussed the likelihood of the tournament staying in Danville.

“I don’t see the tournament moving in all honesty,” Leicht said. Leicht said she can tell the Danville committee is passionate about the tournament. Also, the NJCAA hears positive reactions from member colleges about the tournament in Danville.

Shockey has received some disappointing news already, though, as the Danville Area Community College men’s basketball team was knocked out of a tournament spot after losing in the NJCAA Division II Region 24 semi-finals.

He said it might make a difference in the crowd that comes; more might have come if DACC players were in the tournament. Still, he hopes people do come out to support the event.

“Well, it’s still good basketball,” Shockey said. “(The crowd) is going to see some young men that are going on to play good basketball.”

How to catch the games

In person: Games start at 9 a.m. Tuesday and run throughout the day each day through Saturday at the Mary Miller Complex at Danville Area Community College, 2000 E. Main St.

--On TV: Comcast Channel 5 (day games only)

--Radio: WDAN 1490 AM (all games)

--Internet: http://www.ihigh.com (all games)

Ticket prices

Individual games: $6 for adults; $3 for DACC students and senior citizens; free for children 6 and younger

Tournament pass: $35

For more tournament details online, go to http://www.dacc.edu/njcaa.

Entertainment schedule

This is the entertainment schedule for the National Junior College Athletic Association Men’s Division II National Basketball Tournament at Danville Area Community College.

Tuesday

--9 a.m. game

National anthem: Curt Kizer

--6:30 p.m. game

National anthem: Danville High School student Christian Cunningham

Pep band: Danville High School

Halftime: Toyota Halftime Show — Coaches’ Shoot-Out

--8:30 p.m. game

Pep band: Danville High School

Halftime: Toyota Halftime Show — Coaches’ Shoot-Out

Wednesday

--11 a.m. game

National anthem: Danville Area Community College Student Bryan Jenkins

--6 p.m. game

National anthem: Jason Asaad

Pep band: Doc Ashton and the Root Canals

Halftime: North Ridge Middle School Redcoats

--8 p.m. game

Pep band: Doc Ashton and the Root Canals

Halftime: North Ridge Middle School Redcoats

Thursday

--9 a.m. game

National anthem: Danville Area Community College student Victoria Hunt

--6:30 p.m. game

National anthem: Gretchen Yordy

Pep band: Chicago Blackhawks Band

Halftime: Danville Area Community College cheer team; Chicago Blackhawks Band

--8:30 p.m. game

Pep band: Chicago Blackhawks Band

Halftime: Chicago Blackhawks Band

Friday

--11 a.m. game

National anthem: Danville Area Community College student Katie Walder

--6 p.m. game

National anthem: Curt Kizer

Pep band: Unity High School

Halftime: Dr. Lee Walden, 3-point shooting exhibition

Laurel School of Dance, Laurel Soderstrom-Davis

--8 p.m. game

Pep band: Unity High School

Halftime: Dr. Lee Walden, 3-point shooting exhibition

Laurel School of Dance, Laurel Soderstrom-Davis

Saturday

--Noon game

National anthem: Dennis Rogers

Halftime: Participants’ recognition

--2 p.m. game

Halftime: Seventh/eighth place awards

--5:30 p.m. game

Pep band: Bismarck-Henning High School

Halftime: Fifth/sixth place awards

--7:30 p.m. game

Presentation of colors: Marine Corps League, Detachment 824

National anthem: Four on the Floor; Barbershop Quartet

Pep Band: Bismarck-Henning High School

Halftime: Third/fourth place awards