Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams set to play in Nicholson Pavillion


Andrew Ulstad

Safety sign in front of Nicholson Pavilion.

Deacon Tuttle and Tre’Jon Henderson

The newly renovated Nicholson Pavilion is game-time ready for CWU and their upcoming opponents. On Jan. 21, CWU women’s basketball will be facing off against Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) at home. Following, the men’s team faces off against Seattle Pacific University (SPU)  on Jan. 26 at the pavilion. 

Neither CWU basketball team has played a home game this season due to the reconstruction of the pavilion. Guard Camron McNeil of the men’s basketball team shed light onto Head Coach Brandon Rinta’s approach to practicing out-of-their-element. 

“Coach emphasized entering the season that we would be battling adversity every week,” McNeil said. “We cannot let things outside of basketball dictate our effort and energy going into our games.’’

Senior Guard Landis Spivey said the members of the team have disdain towards not being able to practice in their own building. 

“I think everybody on the team hates not having access to our own gym or locker rooms,” Spivey said. “It is all different for everybody because everyone comes from somewhere different, so it is challenging but we work through it every day.”

While the Pavilion won’t be finished until fall quarter, everyone will be able to appreciate the progress achieved thus far. One person sure to attend is CWU President Jim Wohlpart.

“Renovation of Nicholson Pavilion is a game-changer that will take our athletics facilities and our health-education facilities to the next level,” Wohlpart said. 

A new addition is the Pavilion’s wrap-around walkway that surrounds the court from above. New locker rooms are set to be implemented as well, according to Wohlpart.

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams have spent the better half of a season playing in various venues off campus. Wohlpart is ready for the Wildcats to be in a centralized location again. 

“I so enjoy watching them play and I enjoy watching the coaches interact with the players as they’re coming on and off the court,” said Wohlpart. “Just the vibe that you get in that room.” 

In a wider celebration, Wohlpart highlighted the student-athletes at CWU. 

“Our student-athletes have won the conference academic all-honors,” Wolhpart said. “This is the first time that we’ve gotten it two years in a row … Intellectual, emotional, psychological, all of that, they take all of that very, very seriously.”

Joseph Avendano, a strength and conditioning graduate assistant, works with multiple teams across CWU including both basketball units.

Avendano is anticipating the changes to the Pavilion and thinks it will impress not only CWU students but the teams they’re playing as well. 

“It’s supposed to be the best in the GNAC,” Avendano said. “I would also assume competitors are looking forward to being in a facility that nice.” 

According to Avendano, training and preparation hasn’t changed despite the construction. 

“Wherever they’re going and wherever they’re competing, the expectation for them is to compete at a championship level,” Avendano said.

Many important CWU players are starting to reach the end of their college careers and Avenado says that has played a role in getting the Pavilion back up and running. 

“We’re trying to get it to the point where these seniors can have the ability to play in this gym before they leave Central Washington,” Avendano said. “[Seniors like] Samantha Bowman, who breaks every single record in the books.”

On the flip side, several players will be playing in the Pavilion for the very first time. According to Avendano, this will impact the rest of the season with fresh experiences and their new home.

“I think it will give a lot more appreciation to what they have now, and what they will be getting,” Avendano said.