With everything else this year, Covid-19 has presented new challenges and different ways of going about things. Football has adapted to the new Covid wave of things, but as basketball season gears up to start in less than 48 hours, one of the major things that will be missing to start the season – Fans.
Almost all basketball programs have announced so far that they will start the season with little to no fans in the stands – setting up an NBA bubble like atmosphere to begin the year. While the NBA is allowed to use in-game music and piped in crowd noise, will this affect college players? So far, Wolfpack players are saying not at all.
NC State is scheduled to host the Mako Medical Wolfpack Invitational over the holiday break. The event will feature the Wolfpack along with North Florida, Charleston Southern and Eastern Kentucky at historic Reynolds Coliseum – which is known to be a loud house anytime NC State plays there. However, with no fans in the stands it will be up to the players to provide that extra spark and motivation. Head Coach Kevin Keatts spoke with the media to discuss the upcoming challenges ahead. “Playing in the Covid-19 area will be different,” stated Keatts. “It will be like a scrimmage and the guys will have to bring their own energy.”
The players have a slightly different outlook. Senior forward DJ Funderburk says he’d rather play without fans, adding that the scrimmage-like environment will reveal the real hoopers.
“To be completely honest with you, I’d rather play with no fans. I think it really shows who can play. It’s quiet in there. There’s no way to get nervous by the crowd. There’s no way to play up to the crowd. I just feel like it will eliminate a lot of distractions and other worries.”
Senior guard Devon Daniels doesn’t think playing without fans will be difficult at all. “To be honest, I’m really not worried about a crowd at all. The fans bring a lot of energy and a lot of support to us and I know they’re still going to be supporting from afar. But as a group, as a team, I think we all feel like this is a great lesson.”
Add this to the long list of things we will have to get used to in this Covid-19 phase. Nevertheless, if it allows us to have a season, we will all adjust.