D.C. will host the Atlantic 10 men’s basketball championship for the first time in 2018 at the Verizon Center, the league announced Thursday.
GW Athletic Director Patrick Nero said picking the Verizon Center, a venue just minutes away from campus, is yet another nod to the University’s budding men’s basketball program.
“As we went through this process, that was always in the back of the mind of a little bit of a home-court advantage, but also the progress that we’ve made in our men’s basketball program,” Nero said. “So now for the opportunity to have this tournament in our backyard, we see it as great recognition of this community and how we support college basketball and a reward for our fans.”
The A-10 also announced Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh will host the 2017 basketball championship.
The picks come after nine competitive bids for the two tournament destinations were submmitted, A-10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade said.
“On behalf of the A-10, I and all of our members really look forward to working with and competing in each of these really great venues and outstanding cities for 2017 and ’18,” McGlade said in a teleconference.
The Pittsburgh- and D.C.-based tournaments will be a shift away from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., which has hosted the A-10 tournament since 2013. In late March, the A-10, the Atlantic Coast Conference and Barclays Center agreed to allow the ACC to play its conference tournament at the venue to cap off the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
The A-10 Championship will return to Barclays Center in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Also part of the agreement is a scheduling partnership between the ACC and A-10 to play inter-conference doubleheaders at Barclays Center in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The A-10 secured a position for team participation in Barclays Center’s annual Brooklyn Hoops holiday tournament.
If GW makes it to the A-10 championship in 2018, it won’t be the Colonials’ first game on the Verizon Center court. GW plays an annual regular-season game at the venue for the BB&T Classic, and this year will square off against Charlotte on Dec. 7.
For men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan, a native of Bowie, Md., Thursday’s announcement hits close to home, and he hopes the one-year move to the Verizon Center will aid his local recruiting efforts.
“Having grown up locally, I have great memories of watching basketball games at the many venues around the city and in the area,” said Lonergan, who is heading into his fourth season as the Colonials’ head coach. “To have this opportunity to compete for a championship at Verizon Center in front of our loyal fan base, family and friends will be very special for me.”