My 10 Favorite Things From the 2015 Summit League Basketball Tournament in Sioux Falls
The 2015 Summit League Basketball Tournament was a slam dunk for all involved.
The tournament set attendance records, provided a huge economic impact to the city of Sioux Falls and provided a high level of competition on the court as well.
This is my third Summit League Basketball Tournament that I have attended and covered and this tournament this year, with the atmosphere inside the Denny Sanford Premier Center can stack up across the country with any tournament regardless of size.
I have attended the SEC, West Coast Conference, Ohio Valley Conference, Sun Belt, Pac12 and with out a doubt in my mind, all things considered, the Summit League provides as good as enviornment as any.
As conference tournaments across the college basketball landscape come to a conclusion and we shift our attention to the NCAA Tournament, I wanted to look back one more time at the 2015 Summit League Tournament.
My Top 10 Favorite Things (in no particular order) From the 2015 Summit League Tournament:
1. The Denny Sanford Premier Center - The "iconic" Sioux Falls Arena provided a great backdrop and facility for the Summit League until they moved in 2015 to the new Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls. What a move that turned out to be. New attendance records and a state of the art facility. What more could you ask for?
2. Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple - Not naming names, but I have been around my fair share of conference Commissioners who are a bit hard to get information out of or they are just somewhat of a snob. Tom Douple is the farthest from that. He is kind, generous with his time and always accommodating to me in the media. Not to mention as a leader of the Summit League, he has proven that he can take this conference to the next level. It's not just Tom though, its his entire staff, a true class organization!
3. South Dakota State Ice Cream - I'm not in Brookings a lot, but it's really nice when Brookings and their SDSU ice cream comes to me. Every year at the Summit League Tournament in the hospitality area, there is unlimited amounts of ice cream to consume.
4. Amy Williams - The USD head women's basketball coach is one of my favorites to watch coach in the entire country regardless of gender or level of competition. Williams has got her team into the Championship Game in the Summit League Tournament three consecutive years including a Championship win in 2014 and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Her passion on the sidelines accompanied with the fact that she is one heck of a coach certainly affords her a spot on this list. Plus, she's easy on the eyes and may be my lone basketball coach crush, just don't tell my wife!
5. Summit League Lounge - This was a new addition to the 2015 Summit League Tournament and it was a hit. It was set up on the main level of the Denny Sanford Premier Center and was open to all fans to watch other games on a big screen TV and for fans to hang out in between games. Solid addition by the tournament staff.
6. Marcus Farr - The IPFW pep band director is always a highlight at the Summit League Tournament. Win or lose for IPFW, Farr brings his A game ever single year. I actually had another school's administrator tell me that they had taken video of Farr and were showing their band director how they want them acting at events because of their admiration for the way he does things.
7. Wifi - This year the Summit League Tournament fixed the wifi issues that so many major events experience. With the number of fans and media members trying to access the wifi network, it usually gets bogged down. NOT THIS YEAR. So impressed with the IT folks that helped avoid what usually is a problem at so many events across the country.
8. Location - Sioux Falls has been such a great host over the years for the Summit League Tournament. For me it's great as it allows us to cover another major event without having to the leave the comforts of home. Especially this year as I'm not sure that my 9 month pregnant wife would appreciate me being gone even more.
9. Vicky McIntyre - The 6 foot 7 inch redshirt senior with Oral Roberts had a great season and in concluded with a really good performance at the tournament. You rarely see someone of her height in women's basketball at the Summit League level. McIntyre is all of 6'7 and was a shot blocking machine.
10. Catching Up - The Summit League Tournament at least for me is a great time to catch up with so many people. When you bring out the attendance that the tournament does, it allows me to see so many people that I may not see throughout the year. From friends, to other media members, coaches ect. Love it!
** YOU CAN EMAIL JEFF THURN AT JT@ESPN991.COM AND FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @JTESPN991.