A call for more basketball at Walsh
Earlier this season, the men’s basketball team was given the opportunity to play two games at the historic Walsh Gymnasium, and it wasn’t just a throwback to the days where college basketball was a much simpler game. It was awesome.
Walsh Gym was constructed in 1939, 40 years before the Big East conference was even given a thought, and in its time was one of the most up-to-date facilities in all of college basketball.
Often compared to Duke University’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, which opened just a year after Walsh Gym, its distinct bandbox shape was typical of the time period. Both Walsh Gym and Cameron Indoor were modeled after the University of Pennsylvania’s historic gym, The Palestra, which only adds to its antiquity.
Just looking around Walsh Gym, with its glossy wood finish, outdated wooden seats and arching roof, laden with championship banners and retired numbers, you understand its place in history. You immediately understand what college basketball was like, long before arenas that can sit 18,000 people were built, when the true home-court advantage existed.
Perhaps coaches such as Bill Raftery and P.J. Carlesimo don’t patrol the sidelines anymore, but their spirits still resides in Walsh Gym. All of the great Seton Hall teams of the past, whether its legendary coach Honey Russell’s 1940 team which cruised to a 20-2 record in their first season at the new facility or the 1989 Final Four team, which won all six of its games at Walsh that season, the gym holds the important memories of Seton Hall’s past.
Who says that kind of spirit is gone forever? Walsh Gymnasium is still here and it’s still alive, which is why I think Seton Hall should be playing three or four non-conference games every season there.
Why not? They don’t have to be games against top-tier opponents. Every year, Seton Hall has a handful of games on the schedule that will never sell out. And everyone knows it. NJIT, Monmouth and St. Peter’s are all opponents that won’t draw the big crowds. But they are in-state opponents, making them prime candidates for a game at Walsh Gym.
Of all the refreshing things I’ve seen this season, both on the court and off of it, hearing the crowd cheer as loudly as they were and seeing historic Walsh Gym filled to the brim for the first time in years is definitely one of my favorite memories.
John Lopiano is a senior journalism major from Brooklyn, N.Y. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.