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JAM Center is not dividing sports

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JAM Center is not dividing sports

by Joe Faria, Staff writer

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The San Diego State men’s basketball team found a new practice facility in the Jeff Jacobs JAM Center at the beginning of the school year. The official opening date was Aug. 27, when the 23,500-square-foot basketball performance center was on full display for the SDSU community.

The facility was named after Jeff Jacobs in honor of the key contributions he made to the construction of the project.

Other major contributors included Hal and Debby Jacobs, Steve and Lisa Altman and Jim Morris, who created the name “JAM” Center.

The JAM Center contains amenities such as two full-length basketball courts, eight baskets, two scoreboards, strength equipment, locker rooms, team lounges, a film room and an athletic training room.

It not only houses the men’s basketball team and coach Steve Fisher’s staff, but it attracts stars like former Aztec and current NBA champion and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who occasionally works out there during his NBA season with the San Antonio Spurs.

Following a 23-8 regular season record and appearance in the Mountain West Tournament championship game, SDSU prepares for the 2016 National Invitation Tournament by practicing in its state-of-the-art home.

The basketball team has become one of the main attractions at SDSU as students want to be a part of “The Show” and San Diegans want to experience the home atmosphere.

And now the addition of the JAM Center gives them more of a reason to boast.

Other athletes around campus don’t find the practice facility to provide sport-on-sport competition with basketball, but instead embrace its features and numerous resources that support the athletic program.

“Basketball brings in a lot of revenue,” redshirt-junior and women’s lacrosse team captain Jackie Leibrandd. “They worked hard to build their reputation and national rankings, so they deserve to have a building like that.”

“I see it as a step toward the school’s goal of revamping athletics to become a top-25 program. I mean, we’re already working on redoing the (Fowler) Athletic Center’s weight room, locker rooms, track and sound system, as well as processing a logo change. We’re even looking at possibly adding a juice bar station outside (of the center). That all comes down to funding.”

According to SDSU Athletics, the total cost for construction of the JAM Center was $15 million, $12.5 million of which was raised through private funding.

“Our athletic center is still amazing, but we lack funds compared to top-25 schools across the country like Oregon, USC and Michigan, for example,” Leibrandd said.

Last year, men’s basketball had $5.5 million in revenue. Only football had a higher revenue at $12.5 million, but football spent more money than it made, whereas men’s basketball ran a profit.

Even with the players knowing how much money they bring in to fund the program, they don’t see themselves superior to other athletes and students on campus.

“Me and my teammates’ relationship with the (basketball) team is really good,” Leibrandd said. “I’m friends with most of them and they’re really nice guys. I run into Skylar (Spencer) a lot around campus. (Matt) Shrigley, Parker (U’u) and I all tore our ACLs, so we spent some time in the athletic training room. I also added most of the team on Snapchat.

“However, when it comes to them and us, season is business. So there’s no 24/7 interaction during that time. I’m personally busy with balancing school and practice, so I don’t have much free time during the week. It also makes it difficult to attend (the basketball) games.”

There’s plenty of support from athletes and the rest of the Aztec community heading into March Madness.

“I think that they can go far,” Leibrandd said. “Even though they struggled a bit in beginning (of the season), they finished hot and have the core fundamentals, resources and coach to do it.”

The JAM Center will attract additional basketball recruits in the future and look to bring back alumni to work out there, such as soon-to-be graduate and ring leader of the team, Winston Shepard, who looks to follow in Leonard’s footsteps by playing professional ball.

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1 Comment

One Response to “JAM Center is not dividing sports”

  1. Jim Brown on March 14th, 2016 10:00 am

    It is my understanding the JAM Center was supposed to also house women’s basketball in the same manner it is home for the men. If so, that is a major omission in this story. Further, in the fifth paragraph the writer goes out of his way not to make mention of the womens team by emphasizing that the JAM Center is used by the the men’s team and staff, along with former players now in the NBA.

    If I am wrong in my belief that the facility is shared with the women, I apologize for my ignorance which is based on prior information regarding the center’s availability to both squads.

    If they do use the facility, their exclusion by the writer turns this story into a major fail as being factually incomplete and misleading.

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