USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) will host the inaugural Quicken Loans Carrier Classic basketball game aboard the ship’s flight deck on Veteran’s Day Nov. 11.
The Michigan State University Spartans and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels will compete in this first-of-its-kind event.
“I always talk about leaving footprints in the sand and making memories while you are here,” said Spartans Head Coach Tom Izzo. “I just don’t know if anyone in college basketball or football can make a bigger memory than this game will be.”
A 7,000-seat arena is currently being constructed aboard Vinson’s flight deck and an alternative arena is being constructed in the ship’s hangar bay, to be used in the event of inclement weather. Either location will have the teams play outside of their normal playing environments.
“We were joking about how most of us haven’t played a game outside since high school,” said Austin Thornton, Spartans guard. “So it’s going to be a great opportunity for (Michigan) and a great opportunity for North Carolina; just a great venue in general to have a chance to get out there and play on an air craft carrier on Veteran’s Day.”
University of North Carolina Tar Heels Head Coach Roy Williams said he expects both teams will encounter challenges while playing aboard Carl Vinson.
“There is no question the elements will be a factor, but the good news is hopefully it will be the same factor for both teams,” said Williams. “I hope the wind isn’t just blowing on our end. I hope it blows on both ends if it blows at all.”
The game will be the first of the 2011/12 regular season for both teams. For many of the team members the game will be more than a usual season opener.
“I’m just so honored that they picked UNC to go out there in San Diego and not only represent our school, but to go show support for our troops and our appreciation for everything they do,” said Harrison Barnes, Tar Heels forward.
“I think this is something that is unique in itself,” said Tyler Zeller, Tar Heels forward. “This is something that I can always tell my family and kids that I have done. I have a lot of cousins and family members who have served, and I think it’s a great honor to be able to play in front of (the military) and be able to give back to them.”
Source: navy, November 04, 2011