Oct. 12, 2016
By Brad Muller | More Features
South Carolina basketball fans will soon notice a brand new court inside the Colonial Life Arena, but it's what they can't see that could have the greatest effect on the student-athletes competing on that floor. While a new floor was needed, a new design isn't the only exciting aspect of the project, as improved player safety is also involved.
"One of the features with this new floor is that it has power shock pads," Assistant Director of Operations and Event Management Tim Strunk said. "These are more shock absorbent and provide an additional layer of cushioning that we didn't have with the old floor. It's a noticeable difference when you are walking on it. There is just more support, or `give' to it. In the long run, it means less wear and tear on players' knees, and ideally will help alleviate some of the toll it takes on their legs. Hopefully they will be less sore after playing on it."
Connor Sports of Michigan was chosen to produce the floor, which was the same company that had produced the floors used in the Carolina Coliseum practice facility and also produced the floor for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. The new floor will be installed on Thursday.
"The current floor we have went in in 2007," Strunk said. "When it comes to floors there are a certain number of sandings that can be made on the floor that affects the life expectancy of it. Every time you want to change the graphics, change the paint, or if there are rule changings for markings of the three point line or anything like that, you have to sand it. That takes some of the `meat' off of that floor. It thins out the wood. We've gone through several of those, so we knew it was time and that this is something that was inevitable."
It has all of the traditional elements with what we define as our brand.
South Carolina's head basketball coaches, Frank Martin and Dawn Staley, had input into the design, in addition to senior administrative staff. The floor design that was chosen represents a classic and clean look.
"We looked at a lot of different designs," Strunk said. "It has all of the traditional elements with what we define as our brand. It has the Block C at midcourt. The Palmetto Trees are worked into the corners, and it's primarily garnet. One of the things I like is that the woodgrain that is used for the majority of the court is lighter, so it appears to be a more natural finish as opposed to the old court which was a little but more `yellowish.' "
The floor will arrive on pallets and the individual pieces will fit together like a jigsaw puzzle from the center of the court, branching outward. The old floor will be taken to campus surplus where it will be sold at a State auction.
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