By Matt McCoy
The Buckeye basketball programs unveiled their $19 million practice facility and it is impressive. From the state of the art weight and training rooms, to the practice courts to the players lounge, it's top notch.
But all the new bells and whistles did not draw the reaction that a single locker in the men's basketball dressing room did.
LeBron James, one of the most polarizing figures for sports fans in Ohio, has his own locker.
"We always want to pay our respect to him for what he did for us in 2007," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "We were the first LeBron school (outfitted in LBJ Nike gear) and obviously we get tremendous product from him and I know he's very proud of what he does for us."
To hear Coach Matta's thoughts on the new facility click HERE:
The ulterior motive for Matta and the Buckeye basketball program to recognize James is clear...recruiting. When a 15 or 16 year old basketball prodigy tours that locker room and sees the James locker and learns that the NBA's biggest star is a supporter of your program, it has to help.
While the James locker catches your attention, the facility as a whole is eye-popping. Here's a peek.
The new practice court...one of two in the facility. The men's and women's teams will no longer have to share court time.
Center court at the new practice gym. Thad Matta said the only thing he specifically asked was that the court replicate the one on the main floor of the Schott.
The weight room will be used by both the men's and women's basketball teams, the hockey teams as well as a few other varsity sports. It is more than twice the size of the previous facility in the Schottenstein Center.
The therapy pool in the training room. It is Ohio State track star Christina Manning using it.
Michael Redd donated $500,000 and has his name on the Mens locker room
The players lounge inside the mens locker room. The womens locker room has an area exactly like this as well.
The video screen at the front of a theatre style room is connected to the locker area.
An Aaron Craft poster, promoting milk is on the locker room wall.
10 Years Later, Meyer and Long Meet Again
In 2003, Urban Meyer coached Utah in a game against New Mexico and lost 47-35. It turned out to be Meyer's last loss with the Utes who won their final four games that season and followed it up with a 12-0 record in 2004. From there, Meyer became the head coach at Florida.
The coach of that New Mexico team was Rocky Long, who is now the head coach at San Diego State who visit the Buckeyes Saturday.
"They got after us pretty good. Our defense took a beating that day that I'm not sure I can remember our defense ever taking before," Meyer said of his 2003 loss to Long on the Big 10 teleconference. "(Long is) a very tough, physical (coach) and believes in pounding the ball."
Long coached the Aztecs to a 9-4 record last year but 2013 started in disaster, a 40-19 loss to FCS school Eastern Illinois. The Buckeyes are 28 point favorites.
To listen to all of Coach Meyer's comments on the teleconference click HERE: