Mississippi State unveiled its new basketball court at the Humphrey Coliseum today, not just displaying the permanent new wood floor, but sharing a clean design created to express pride in the city of Starkville and the state of Mississippi.
The two-toned court is made from a softer wood than previously used in The Hump, with the full-court stain being slightly lighter, as well. Shades of that stain, rather than paint, are used to mark the inside of the three-point arc.
The details on and around the court are where MSU highlighted its local ties. One of the more subtle details, what looks from a distance to be a design around the outside of the court, is actually a listing of all 82 counties in Mississippi. Five inches tall and painted in gray, they represent the populace of the state and the fact that the University owns property in every county in Mississippi.
Of note, Oktibbeha County – where Starkville and MSU are located – is the only one to appear in white, located at midcourt between the home and visiting benches. In front of the scorer’s table is the state of Mississippi, also in white, with a maroon X over the location of Starkville marking the spot for players to check into the game.
“One of the things we’re really proud of here is that we’re the state school of Mississippi,” Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said. “With this new court and new design, we felt like we had an opportunity to showcase the state and city we have so much pride in, and I’m pleased with what our staff designed to highlight Starkville and the entire state of Mississippi.”
In an additional display of that local pride, Starkvegas – the nickname for Starkville – has been placed specifically in front of the student section along the baseline. Senior Associate Athletic Director Scott Wetherbee was one of several in the department working on the project and said the idea was to capture the energy and atmosphere of the city by painting it front of the student body.
The incorporation of the city and state is not something new at MSU, and is actually something Stricklin has made an effort to include across the department. At Davis Wade Stadium, for example, the plaza in front of the new end zone has the state of Mississippi circled by the names of every county in the state. The new golf course has a putting green in the shape of Mississippi. Even most of the uniforms for MSU’s various sports now have the state somewhere on them, as Director of Marketing Rhett Hobart pointed out.
“We like to promote that we’re the state school,” Hobart said, “but we want to do it in a unique way.”
As for the designs on the court itself, the idea was go to go for a clean look, not too busy, and one that highlights the primary university logo, along with the wordmark on each end of the floor. The non-typical placement of the wordmark inside the three-point line offered more room for a larger M-State logo at midcourt, the same one which will be on the football field for the 2016 season, as well. Plus, Hobart noted, the wordmarks are more likely to appear on TV in their new position rather than along the sidelines where they were previously located.
The shift from the wordmark to the primary logo at midcourt was purposeful, and one MSU hopes will help create consistency in brand appearance across all sports and venues.
Installation of the court is now finished and the final details are being applied this week.
Overall, the design is one that Wetherbee believes will be pleasing to the eye as well as direct in its support of what is important to the school and athletic department.
“We wanted a clean look, and I really think this court is going to shine with the maroon lines and stained three-point area,” he said. “Having the city of Starkville and all 82 counties represented is an important feature. That’s who we are at Mississippi State.”