During the summer, it wasn’t rare for Ole Miss women’s basketball coach to come into her office and see the picture frames on her wall hanging every which way but straight.Any other person would huff and straighten the pictures, but not Ladner. The chaos on her wall would only put a smile on her face.
“I was always having to straighten up my photos on the wall — that’s not a problem,” Ladner said. “If they’re crooked, I’m happy.”
What do crooked pictures mean? They mean her players are taking advantage of the brand new Basketball Practice Facility that houses both the men’s and women’s basketball programs.
Since the new BPF opened in January, Ladner said her players have virtually lived there — something that wasn’t the case previously when the teams shared practice time at the, um, broken in, C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum.
“We have our own facility to practice in any time we want to,” Ladner said. “The kids love it and come over a lot more. They have a place to go. We didn’t have that before. We would only see our players during practice at the Tad Smith Coliseum.
“When practice ended, they were gone. They rarely came around the Tad Smith Coliseum just to chat. Now they have music, weight rooms, a lounge…It’s really their home.”
“It has everything a player could want in one place,” said Shae Nelson, a freshman forward at Ole Miss.
Not only is the BPF making life easier for the players and coaches, it’s also making the lives of the training staff easier.
“As a sports medecine staff it improves our effeciency and our ability to better treat and rehab these athletes because if they’re not in class they’re in the facility in some capacity,” men’s basketball trainer Clarke Holter said. “You don’t have to worry about going between three buildings.”
Prior to January, rehabbing players was an ordeal because they would have to schedule time at the Tad Pad, the Indoor Practice Facility and the Starnes Athletic Training Center.
“Now it’s all right there,” Holter said.
Those affiliated with Ole Miss haven’t been the only ones raving about the BPF.
“Anybody that walks in it is just overwhelmed. The University of West Georgia coaches came in here and they just couldn’t believe it,” Ladner said. “They said you have better facilities than some professional venues and I certainly think so. The more people we can get in here to see this, the more I think they can see the commitment to the program. That’s what it says to me. We’re committed to basketball, period.
“It’s been a long time coming and we did it right.”
The BPF may have been a long time coming, but at least it was worth the wait. (November 12, 2010, Page 7A)