Some news and views while we wait for a riveting rematch between the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX:
- It’s high time Marquette University officials publicly declare their intentions to help pay for a new arena in downtown Milwaukee.
Marquette has benefitted greatly over the years by playing in the BMO Harris Bradley Center and, suffice to say, will benefit even more in a new, state-of-the-art facility.
Can you imagine how much money Marquette would have to shell out if it decided to construct its own arena? The Kohl Center in Madison, which serves as the home of the Wisconsin Badgers, cost $76 million. And that was built in 1998.
Recently, Georgetown University, which like Marquette is a member of the Big East Conference, broke ground on the John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletic Center. That cost is $60 million ... and it’s just a practice facility.
Also, DePaul University in Chicago is building a new arena near Soldier Field. It’ll cost $173 million, of which DePaul will pay $70 million. And that is for an arena that will have a seating capacity of around 10,000 – or about seven thousand fewer seats than the new Milwaukee arena is expected to have.
- I’ve been told by individuals close to the Milwaukee arena situation that the Bucks are, in many respects, modeling their project after the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings’ new facility, which is set to open in 2016, will cost $477 million. Under a 35-year-deal, the City of Sacramento will be responsible for a $223 million subsidy. The bulk of that amount will be financed through a parking revenue bond.
The seating capacity for the new Kings arena will be 17,500. A 16-story multi-purpose tower will also be built next to the Kings’ arena and will provide 250 hotel rooms, along with retail and residential space.
The Kings’ project will reportedly bring 11,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs.
- Jamil Wilson has been acquitting himself well with the Bakersfield (Calif.) Jam in the NBA D-League.
The former Horlick High School and Marquette University standout has started all seven games for the Jam, averaging 10 points and seven rebounds. Bakersfield’s parent team is the Phoenix Suns of the NBA.
- It goes without saying there’ll be a lot of interesting prep basketball games in the area this winter. But there’s one matchup that sticks out: On Feb. 7, Case will play Whitefish Bay Dominican at Whitefish Bay.
Case coach Steve Jaskulske has another dynamic team, one that figures to be in the hunt for its third straight Southeast Conference championship.
As for Dominican, the Knights could be the best team in the state. They not only have 6-foot-10 Diamond Stone, who is possibly the best prep player ever in the state, and 6-7 Kostas Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannnis told me Kostas will be a better player than him.
- Former University of Wisconsin star running back John Clay of Racine on current Badger star running back Melvin Gordon of Kenosha: “He’s a great guy. He’s just a guy you can talk to. He’s not one of those arrogant type of guys. He has a high character.’’
- Less bang for the buck: Center Larry Sanders, who is the Bucks’ highest-paid player at $11 million this season, is averaging a paltry 6.6 rebounds a game. That ranks Sanders 46th – yes, 46th — in the league in that category.
- Wisconsin small forward Sam Dekker is expected to turn pro after the season and for good reason.
Dekker, whom Racine Lutheran High School basketball followers know all too well – he hit a dramatic, game-winning jumper to beat the Crusaders in the 2012 WIAA Division 5 state championship game – is generally regarded as a mid-to-late, first-round selection in June’s NBA draft. However, one highly regarded NBA scout told me last week he believes Dekker could be a top-10 selection.