I thought we could make it through the end of this basketball season without another bashing of the Rice Owls' home for hoops, but apparently not.
That Willis Wilson and Cristy McKinney have their basketball teams in the postseason for a second consecutive year speaks to their coaching ability and recruiting savvy.
According to Hawaii coach Riley Wallace, the fact Wilson has the Owls playing competitively qualifies as a minor miracle, considering the facilities he and McKinney have to work with — namely that cozy, antiquated barn called Autry Court.
"I played in this place in 1960, and it was old then it seemed like," said Wallace following the Owls' 80-61 victory over the Rainbow Warriors on Feb. 27 at Autry. "Willis does a great job here, and unless Rice ever helps him by building an arena where he can recruit to, they'll never be able to compete much better than what they're doing right now because kids don't want to come and play in this box.
"I understand they can write a check anytime they wanted to."
Autry Court was already 10 years old when Wallace, then with Centenary, visited four decades ago. Aside from renovations, little has changed, but that's news to no one.
However, suggesting Rice or anyone affiliated with the university could "write a check" — an assumption based on Rice's $3.3 billion endowment — is equally unjust. Southern California will replace the Los Angeles Sports Arena with the 10,258-seat Galen Center in the summer of 2006 at a cost of $114 million — not exactly small change. It will take a significant contribution on the part of some entity, but it is clear many are watching.