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Students line up for event

Steve Kerins | Monday, October 30, 2006

Hundreds of students waited in the rain Thursday evening outside the Joyce Center to attend the opening event for this year’s men’s basketball season and to receive a voucher that would allow them to purchase season tickets.

Irish coach Mike Brey kicked off the event by introducing the evening’s keynote guest – former Notre Dame basketball player and NBA great John Paxson, currently General Manager of the Chicago Bulls.

“I always enjoy the chance to come back to campus,” Paxson said.

Paxson spoke briefly about the responsibility of Notre Dame’s students to support the players throughout the season, and said that students’ enthusiasm at games is a strong factor in the team’s success.

“I can see what impact student bodies have on games and on their team,” Paxson said. “It’s nice when students are behind the guys that work so hard.”

Brey agreed, saying that the quality of the support from students and the full integration of student athletes into the University community allows Notre Dame to stand out among its peers.

“One thing about our guys … they live with you, they eat at North and South Dining Hall, they do the same things [academically],” Brey said. “[And then] they have to go out and compete in the Big East.”

Entertainment for Thursday’s event was provided by the Pom Squad, members of the band, cheerleaders and a video showing highlights from past games. Students in the audience were selected to participate in free throw contests and a relay with players, and prizes were given out to some of the winners.

At the conclusion of the event, students were able to redeem their vouchers and purchase season ticket books.

“[The process] is a little bit convoluted, but it’s worth it because I’m a sports fan,” freshman Kia Johnson said. “And for basketball [the price] is pretty reasonable.”

Josh Berlo, director of ticket operations, said that this year’s procedure for buying basketball tickets is very similar to the routine from last year.

“We did streamline it a bit by doing away with wristbands and making tickets available immediately following the event or on subsequent days to better accommodate student schedules,” he said.

Berlo also said fans can look forward to a great season with a full Joyce Center.

“It is a bit early to know how ticket sales will be for this year,” he said. “However, thus far they appear strong and similar to previous seasons.”

Students’ opinions of Thursday’s event were mixed, but most agreed that this year’s price for season tickets was a bargain.

Freshman Joseph Nachio was pleased with the process for purchasing tickets overall.

“It seems really easy, well structured, [and] pretty convenient,” he said. “[And the price] is really good – sixty bucks and you’re getting a full season.”