On Friday, November 13th, four college basketball teams will gather at Alumni Hall in Annapolis, MD to square off in the Veterans Classic 2015. North Carolina, Temple, Florida, and host-school Navy will each play one game on Friday night. Veterans Day always lines up in conjunction with the start of the college basketball season, and will serve as opening day (night) for the campaign.
Besides serving as the start of college basketball season, the Veterans Classic was more importantly founded in honor of veterans, military service members, and to remember those who have fallen protecting the United States. The event celebrated its inaugural year in 2014 when Michigan State, Virginia Commonwealth, Tennessee and Navy traveled to Annapolis to participate in the intense competition. Many local and regional residents were excited to see the event return to Anne Arundel County again.
Frank DiVenti, Chief Marketing Officer for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau, knows the value of national exposure that special events like this bring to Anne Arundel County. “This event is an additional bonus for the attention Annapolis and our county receives throughout the year through our spectators sports that include Navy’s 33 Varsity Teams,” said DiVenti. “It also adds an additional annual event on a national scale along with the Military Bowl® presented by Northrop Grumman that is part of the holiday bowl season.”
While players and coaches alike are excited about the games and the unveiling of their seasons, they also recognize a deeper significance of what the night is all about. Gabrielle McMillen, in her article on sportingnews.com (link at bottom of post), quoted what Florida Coach Billy Donovan had to say about the Veterans Classic: “This event is a unique opportunity for our team not just on the court, but it’s a chance for our guys to interact with people their age who are leading a really special way of life in service to our country.”
UNC Coach Roy Williams also acknowledged just how special it is for his team to be invited to the Veterans Classic. In his article on cbssports.com (link at bottom of post), Matt Norlander quoted what Williams said regarding the Classic: ““It’s a tremendous honor for Carolina basketball to visit the Naval Academy and play in an event that pays tribute to the brave men and women who safeguard our country.”
Alumni Hall could not be a more fitting and relevant venue to capture the spirit of Veterans Day, especially considering that it’s the indoor stadium of the United States Naval Academy – a prestigious four-year coeducational federal service academy. “Alumni Hall is the perfect location for the NCAA to open its 2015 season while celebrating Veterans Day to honor those who served for our country,” said Frank DiVenti. “In addition to the games, the visiting schools will have the rare opportunity to get a glimpse of what life is like as a Midshipman at the Academy as the visiting teams will tour the Yard, have lunch with the Brigade at King Hall, enjoy military demonstrations and take part in various receptions.”
The first game will tip-off at 7:00pm featuring North Carolina versus Temple, and following the end of that game, Florida and Navy will take the court at 9:30pm for their match-up.
The teams will face off against their scheduled opponent in front of a sellout crowd of approximately 6,000 people. “The event sold out quickly, and we expect a variety of fans from all four schools in town to enjoy the games, take in Navy’s final regular season home football game against SMU the next day, and discover the variety of things to enjoy during an Autumn weekend in Annapolis,” DiVenti said.
For those not lucky enough to snag a ticket before they were all sold out, the game will air on CBS Sports Network Friday night.
To read Gabrielle McMillen’s full article from sportingnews.com, click here.
To read Matt Norlander’s full article from cbssports.com, click here.