TAHLEQUAH — During a recent tour of the building, the noticeable amenities were the locker rooms for both NSU basketball teams. Both appear to be quite comfortable and inviting for any prep standouts that are considering vowing their commitment to the RiverHawks.
Right down the hall from the home locker rooms on the north side of the gymnasium are four visiting locker rooms. But what is so significant about that? The abundance of locker rooms almost ensures NSU will become a major player on the high school basketball scene.
Even Duckworth admitted that’s in the works.
“High school athletic associations are always looking for venues where they can host postseason events,” Duckworth said. “And I can tell you that high school student athletes absolutely love coming to college and university settings to play in the postseason.”
That’s cause for celebration for Sequoyah, Keys and Hulbert fans. Even Locust Grove, Fort Gibson, Stilwell and other outlying communities can get fired up about a relatively short commute to NSU. It would almost certainly be a blessing for Kansas High School, which always travels with a large contingent that is normally having to drive extraordinary lengths to watch basketball.
It’d be a stretch but perhaps the neutral-site aspect could benefit Tahlequah High School. The problem for its basketball programs is that most of the 5A competition is closer to the Tulsa area.
And when NSU isn’t coordinating high school basketball excitement, the arena will also serve as a home to concerts and trade shows.
The new arena is on schedule to open in October. But excitement about the new building should have already begun.