Here we are for the second chapter of Forever and Lever, the column I’m writing this year on Pallaconestro.it to give you a little taste about my college experience in Arizona, at Grand Canyon University, where I’m coached by former Suns and Dream Team II player Dan Majerle.
With the loss at Illinois the first part of the season has ended, that part composed of non-conference games, in preparation to the Regular Season of our conference (the Western Athletic Conference, here widely called WAC by all). If we don’t consider the defeats against Louisville (in an incredible arena with a 22.000 capacity) and St.John’s, season’s proceding great. Step by step I’m finding my role and conquering my spot in the team and in the hearts of the fans… Since the tv commentators started to call me “The Italian Stallion” like Rocky Balboa, everybody calls me like this now at GCU.
As I expected home games at the Grand Canyon University Arena are insane! There are always about 7.000 fans attending the games and, obviously, the Havocs (the student section) go crazy. On the court, and off, when they see you in the campus. The atmosphere makes me always feel goosebumps, and my heart beats faster and faster. A really different environment from the Phoenix Suns games (I saw Lonzo Ball with my eyes and I can confirm he really shoots like that…).
Probably you don’t know attending our games is completely and always free, so the firsts entering the arena take the best seats: the Havocs often make a tent camp outside of GCU Arena in order to fulfill this goal when the personnel opens the gates… They’re completely mad! One time they showed a banner with my face in the stands!
Talking about banners, you have to know that in your campus there are students with the duty to supervise the observation of the rules in every building. Good, in the building where I live there were some Spongebob themed banners and someone thought it was fine to put them out without telling anyone. The result? The following morning, outside the front door, we founded a paper communicating us a sanction for “having trown away Spongebob banners”: for an entire month we weren’t allowed to admit in the building anyone but us, the tenants. Well, thanks Spongebob!
The part including the conference games is due to start on the 6th of January and, sincerely, I’m really looking forward to it! I can’t wait! Our debut will be at Seattle, against the Redhawks at the KeyArena were Sonics used to play, against my fellow Italians Scott Ulaneo and Mattia Da Campo. They both played together at Stella Azzura Roma.
Oh yeah. During the past week we played against Morgan State at Orleans Arena, in Las Vegas, where the next march we’ll play the WAC tournamet. I had the opportunity to take a walk and visit the famous Las Vegas Strip, the boulevard hosting the main hotels of the city, the ones you see in the movies, and I was left speechless. The capital of Nevada is such an amazing place.
See ya soon and, of course, Lopes Up!