Lighting Up the Court


Photo Courtesy of Kory Mortensen

Photo Courtesy of Kory Mortensen
Photo Courtesy of Kory Mortensen

Before the recent renovations to the Huntsman Center, things were a bit dim. Save for a few seasons, the dimness had nothing to do with the basketball on the floor, but more so with the lights shining above.

The cloud that hung over the Huntsman Center court and provided the lighting was not only outdated in design but wasn’t all that effective. According to Utah basketball head coach Larry Krystkowiak, once the lights were shut off, it could take upwards of 15 minutes for them to fully turn back on. This caused some limitations.

Spotlight pre-game introductions for players? Not happening. Slightly darkened arena for a halftime show? Not at the Huntsman. Most any other modern light effect? Also a no.

Let’s just say that if the game wasn’t exciting on the hardwood, then the arena was a pretty boring place to be. The Utes are hoping the new renovation better complements the brand of basketball that Krystkowiak and his players look to bring to the floor.

First and foremost, the cloud is gone, and in its place shine modern, open looking lights that give the arena a completely new look.

“I love it,” Krystkowiak said. “The cloud removal has opened things up quite a bit. The sound is top notch, [along with] the lighting.”

With the new light system in place there have been whispers of spotlighted pre-game introductions and other things that in the past were not possible.

“I don’t know how extravagant it’s going to be, but you’ll be able to cut them all off, and when you want them on it’s immediately on, so we’ll be able to get a little more creative with the pre-game stuff,” Krystkowiak said.

At Tuesday’s Night with the Runnin’ Utes, fans not only saw the 2014-15 team for the first time, but they also caught a glimpse of what the arena is capable of. During breaks in the action on Tuesday night, the aisles were lit up as songs blasted through the arena, and that was just a taste of what the new and improved Huntsman Center can provide.

“I’ll leave that up to the people they pay to make the game experience better, but it’s going to be nice,” Krystkowiak said. “Whenever you can change it up and get some fan involvement and something out of the norm, it’s probably a positive.”

The new renovations have not only made the arena more aesthetically pleasing, but they have also provided some benefits on the practice court.

The Runnin’ Utes won’t see much of the curtains that have been installed to cover the upper bowl because fans are expected to pack the Huntsman to watch what is expected to be an NCAA tournament-bound team.

Krystkowiak said the curtains create a more intimate environment and helps deafen the arena’s echo.

“Acoustically, it’s easier to teach on the floor without some of the echo that we used to get. I love the curtain, it makes it a little more intimate during practice, and it helps with sound,” Krystkowiak said.

Along with the curtain and the new light and sound systems, the freshly updated Huntsman features a new court design. The court design, which features a block U in the center with black sides and end lines, looks fantastic under the lights.

“The floor, I think, is unbelievable, so everything tied in together makes it fun to be in here. It’s a great venue,” Krystkowiak said.

Sophomore guard Kenneth Ogbe agreed with his coach.

“I think it looks great, and it looks a lot bigger. I like the court — I think it looks better than last year’s. I think we’re going to have some fun here this year.”

With a freshly renovated arena to go along with a program that is clearly on the rise, things are now looking bright all around the Huntsman Center.

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