By Deborah Bailey,
AFRO Contributing Editor,
Thanks to the Durant Family Foundation, the standout player at Bowie State University’s A.C. Jordan Arena this basketball season is the facility itself.
Wanda Durant joined Bowie State University President Aminta H. Breaux and members of the university’s men’s and women’s basketball teams at a ribbon cutting to celebrate completion of $500,000 in renovations and upgrades to the facility.
“I’m grateful that he
] realized it’s important to give back to an HBCU. Maybe he can be a catalyst for other athletes throughout the country to give back to HBCUs,” Wanda said at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Durant said the basketball court at Bowie was always a place where the community was welcome. She reflected on the court as the place where her son, Kevin Durant, power forward for the Phoenix Suns, and his brother Tony got their start as children.
“I remember when I brought my sons here to play. Sitting in the bleachers and hollering at the referees. I never thought it would come to this” Wanda reflected.
President Breaux added that the Durant Family Foundation filled a void space where donors are needed to step up and support public HBCUs.
“The athletic departments at our public universities must rely on private donors. State funds do not come to our athletic departments,” Breaux said.
] walked in here and saw the renovations for the very first time, I saw the tears in your eyes. Your son was here this summer coaching a pick-up game,” Breaux said admiring the connection the Durant family continues to have with Bowie State University.
The Durant Family Foundation upgrades are one chapter in a host of upgrades Bowie State University has planned for its athletic complex, according to Clyde Doughty, Athletic Director.
Additional athletic upgrades include replacement of the current football stadium and grandstands, anew softball field, additional track and athletic fields, as well as locker rooms, practice space, according to Bowie State’s Facilities Master Plan.
Members of the women’s and men’s basketball program were beaming at the ribbon cutting. Fans will come out and cheer on the Lady Bulldogs who will play on the new court in November.
”It means a lot to us (the team) because we work so hard to be where we’re at,” said Saniha Jackson, a junior who will play as the team’s center this year. “Now, everybody will get to see us do what we love on a brand new, bright court.”
Kyree Freeman Davis, point guard and junior said the upgrades to the facility are right on time for the fabulous year he predicts is coming up for the men’s basketball team.
“It brings joy to my eyes to see the gym so bright and lightened up,” Freeman Davis said.
The junior point guard said the new facility motivates the team and looks forward to seeing the fans reaction who will fill the stands in a few weeks.
“I like coming in here now. This space gives you a much better vibe. I’m not going to say too much, but I think it’s going to be a very good year,” Freeman Davis said.