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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Inside McCarthy Hall, the KU basketball team’s ‘insane’ new home

Athletes, other students just moved into $11.2 million apartment building

The $11.2 million McCarthy Hall houses the Kansas men's basketball team to the southeast of Allen Fieldhouse on KU's campus.

The $11.2 million McCarthy Hall houses the Kansas men's basketball team to the southeast of Allen Fieldhouse on KU's campus.

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Nobody has to duck inside Kansas University’s McCarthy Hall.

With extra-lofty ceilings, tall doorways, high countertops and even shower heads mounted 9 feet off the ground, the new on-campus apartment building is constructed to scale for 7-footer types.

Just opened last week on Naismith Drive next to Allen Fieldhouse, Marie S. McCarthy Hall is home to the 16-member KU men’s basketball team plus 21 non-athlete upperclassmen — all male students. There’s also an extra apartment for guests, such as recruits or visiting family members.

The $11.2 million, three-story facility was built with private money, and KU Student Housing runs and staffs it.

A fireplace, television and seating fill the lobby of KU's new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

A fireplace, television and seating fill the lobby of KU's new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

Construction fell a few months behind, and the basketball players and other McCarthy residents started the semester at Naismith Hall (in past years, the athletes have lived at Jayhawker Towers apartments).

But McCarthy was completed and the residents moved in Oct. 8 — just in time to show off the new hall to basketball recruits who came to town for Late Night in the Phog on Oct. 9.

Here’s what’s inside:

Apartments: With full kitchens and private bedrooms. There are two layouts, two-bedroom with one bathroom or four-bedroom with two bathrooms.

Members of the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical department tour a living unit at the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

Members of the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical department tour a living unit at the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

A half-court basketball court: Adjacent to the lobby and visible through big glass windows, with a wooden floor and replicas of the national championship and “Beware of the Phog” banners that hang in Allen Fieldhouse.

Brandmeyer Family Court, a half-court basketball facility, is one of the highlights of the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

Brandmeyer Family Court, a half-court basketball facility, is one of the highlights of the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

A multipurpose room: With a fully equipped kitchen, large round tables and a couple more TVs. KU Student Housing director Diana Robertson said the kitchen is available to any residents and that Coach Bill Self indicated he may use the space for home game day meals and a pre-game team meeting place.

Diana Robertson, director of KU student housing, right, introduces Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel to a multipurpose room and kitchen inside the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

Diana Robertson, director of KU student housing, right, introduces Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel to a multipurpose room and kitchen inside the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

A movie theater: Or media room, with 25 plush recliners that each have their own cup holder.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel tour the media room inside the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel tour the media room inside the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

A barbershop: There won’t be a barber operating out of the shop, but the facility is there in case someone comes in from time to time, Robertson said. The room features a crimson leather chair (with a Jayhawk on it) and a counter and sink. The barbershop is adjacent to the game room.

McCarthy Hall, the new $11.2 million home of the Kansas men's basketball team, features a barbershop adjacent to the building's game room.

McCarthy Hall, the new $11.2 million home of the Kansas men's basketball team, features a barbershop adjacent to the building's game room. by Mike Yoder

Game room: With a pool table, ping-pong table and big window overlooking the basketball court.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel tour a recreation room at the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel tour a recreation room at the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

An outdoor lounge: This balcony at the north end of the third floor has another fireplace, TVs and tables and chairs.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel tour an outdoor deck with fireplace and widescreen televisions at the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel tour an outdoor deck with fireplace and widescreen televisions at the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

Study rooms: One on each floor.

Fingerprint scanners: In addition to keycard access at other KU residence halls, McCarthy has fingerprint scanners at the building entrance and all apartments.

Living in McCarthy costs $9,875 a year, Robertson said, though full scholarships for athletes cover their room and board. The second most expensive dorm at KU is Oswald/Self — also brand new this fall — which costs $9,230 for a suite with private bedrooms.


‘Words can’t describe’

KU envisions the new facility as both a good home for its basketball players but also a draw for new recruits.

"We have the best venue (Allen Fieldhouse), and we will have the best housing,” Coach Self said in a KU Athletics press release prior to McCarthy’s construction. "These things are very, very significant for the benefit, development and overall experience of our student-athletes. We want them to be comfortable and have the same type of living conditions as the programs we're recruiting against."

Perry Ellis, a senior forward from Wichita, said he always thought Jayhawker Towers were great.

McCarthy is something else.

“Words can’t describe it,” Ellis said. “I think it definitely will help persuade kids. It’s just so nice.”

Ellis — who’s 6-foot-8, according to the KU basketball roster — cited McCarthy’s super-high ceilings and extra privacy as favorite features.

As for the basketball court, players obviously spend a lot of time already in formal practices — up to 20 hours in a typical week.

The court floor was still curing Wednesday but Ellis said he expected players would try it out as soon as they were allowed.

“It’s definitely still fun,” Ellis said. “You always want to get better and better.”


The other residents

In addition to the basketball players, McCarthy is open to male upperclassmen who are not athletes.

Cole Neville is one of those.

A junior majoring in political science and minoring in psychology, Neville transferred to KU this year from community college in his hometown of Scottsdale, Ariz. He said he got a scholarship that’s paying his room and board.

Neville called KU to inquire about campus housing and was told he qualified for a new dorm that was under construction. Neville — who has never been to a KU basketball game — said he realized only later that he’d be living with the basketball team.

At that point, he said he started getting excited because he knew “it was going to be really nice.”

Neville said he toured McCarthy for the first time about a week before moving in.

“Right when I walked in I was like, ‘Oh, wow, OK. This is pretty insane,’” Neville said. “I love it.”

A Jayhawk hangs on a wall inside the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

A Jayhawk hangs on a wall inside the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

So far the place has been pretty quiet, Neville said. Residents have only been in McCarthy a week, part of which was fall break.

“I can’t wait to see what it’s like throughout the season,” Neville said.

Robertson said there currently are two open spots for non-athletes, after one man who had signed up left KU and another decided to move into a different residence hall.

Jim Marchiony, associate athletics director for public affairs, said it’s good to have both groups of students under the same roof, especially for the athletes.

“Interaction with non-athletes is vital to college life,” Marchiony said. “McCarthy gives them the best of both worlds — it gives them exposure, but it also provides them with a bit more security.”


Who's Marie S. McCarthy?

Kansas University alumni Kent and Missy McCarthy donated the lead gift to construct McCarthy Hall, which is named after Kent’s late mother and proud Kansan, Marie S. McCarthy.

Marie McCarthy was born in 1929 and attended KU on a math scholarship, a rarity for women in her day. She graduated in 1951.

“Mom was a Kansas girl who grew up during the dust bowl era,” Kent said in a Kansas University Endowment report. “KU and the basketball team were a big part of her life, and we wanted to honor her.”

Comments

Suzi Marshall 2 years, 1 month ago

The outdoor lounge would be my favorite place. As a bonus, it overlooks the baseball field.

Mike Riches 2 years, 1 month ago

Thank you for the pictures! It's hard to believe there are still two open spots. I would think there would be a waiting list a mile long. Fantastic place!

Joe Ross 2 years, 1 month ago

The inside look is great, so thank you Sara Shepherd for giving us an inside look.

One of the things that I feel very strongly is that Kansas needs to better market itself. Recruiting is the goal. Calipari is a master at this. Hopefully, a video with a virtual tour AND narrated walk-through will be forthcoming so recruits can compare to Kentucky's Wildcat Coal Lodge. (McCarthy Hall is clearly head and shoulders above their dorm, but recruits need to know that!)

http://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/john-calipari-and-the-marketing-of-kentucky-basketball

Rodney Crain 2 years, 1 month ago

Heck KY even got you to market them on a KU article even. :)

Unless this is not shared with the public there is no reason we do not have something like this available. I would say maybe its too new but that is not an excuse. With the use of PCs for design a 3d rendering should not be that hard to come up with.

Jay Beakum 2 years, 1 month ago

A barber shop with no barber. Am I the only one who finds this odd?

Maybe they can have a game day barber or something. Otherwise they could've put a statue of Floyd there and called it good.

Joe Ross 2 years, 1 month ago

I know how to cut hair. Ill volunteer. How could would that be?

Gary Bedore 2 years, 1 month ago

This is Kansas basketball. Players can call their favorite barber and you can be sure that barber will schedule a house call. Now the "regular" students in there? The barber house call might be more difficult to schedule, lol.

Joe Ross 2 years, 1 month ago

Local values seem to influence not only a fan base, but the direction and administration of programs. Kansas basketball is not immune to that. The coach also bears a huge responsibility outside of recruiting and coaching. He is also responsible for the branding of the program. This is where Self could rip a page out of Calipari's book:

http://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/john-calipari-and-the-marketing-of-kentucky-basketball

Rules for recruiting: 1. Market thyself 2. Promise, promise, promise 3. Market thyself

Rodney Crain 2 years, 1 month ago

I would go one step further I think the B12 is still slipping in national exposure and it is affecting perception with recruits.

Due to our 10 team conference we are perceived smaller than the other 4 Power conferences in marketabilty. We also do not have a B12 network available in most large markets. Again we offer less as a conference than most of the other conferences. Add to that we are in the midwest with smaller markets and it is easy to make a case that the B12 is the weak link in the Power 5 conferences.

Texas put us here, but after the shake up and the loss of teams, the B12 has not developed any further and I would go as far as say not recovered from the chaos either.

Gavin Fritton 2 years, 1 month ago

I will put my Jayhawk fanboy credentials up against anyone's. Rock Chalk to the core. Everyone bleeds red but I bleed crimson. And I am not complaining about the dorm. In fact, I'm glad they built it. Any recruiting advantage we can legally get, I'm in favor of having. But am I the only one who thinks that the guys who live in the dorm but aren't on the team will be more or less second class citizens when it comes to the amenities outside their own rooms?

Why is it that I suspect that the media room and the multi-purpose room will be more or less permanently reserved for team activities and that an anonymous econ major won't be able to use it for his study group or to show his PowerPoint as he gets ready to defend his honors thesis? "You want to have some friends over for a movie night in the theater? Ooooh. Sorry. Wish we could help you but that's a team film night. You know that. Team film nights are Sunday through Saturday."

Before anyone starts flaming, I'm not complaining, really. But I am cynical. I really don't object to this dorm and, again, am in fact glad we have it. I think it will help get us players. If this is anyone's fault, it's the NCAA's for not allowing athlete-only dorms (although that would open its own Pandora's box). But come on. That this dorm is for anyone other than the players is a fiction.

Phil Leister 2 years, 1 month ago

Had the same thought as I read this. Anyone think the psych major living down the hall is going to be able to invite his friends over to the dorm to shoot some hoops on the court? I think not.

Gary Bedore 2 years, 1 month ago

At 9,800 bucks a year I think the psych major would have quite the gripe/lawsuit if denied access to the court. Remember, the players have access codes to get in the practice gym, which is about a 3-minute walk from their dorm. I'd envision players shooting in their own dorm at weird hours like 1 a.m., if they happen to be bored and can't sleep. We can ask the players about use of the courts as the floor settles and everybody starts using it.

Joe Ross 2 years, 1 month ago

Even in the regular dorms, sometimes spaces inside of them are reserved for certain activities. I know. I lived in Templin and it happened all the time. Very little difference, except the stated purpose is basketball.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 1 month ago

I"m sorry to be blunt here, but nobody cares about the Econ, Psych, or Engineering Major that will be living there.

They just got the golden ticket to the Chocolate Factory. They should be happy with that.

Gary Bedore 2 years, 1 month ago

Yeah but NCAA rules dictate you have to have at least 17 regular non basketball playing students living in the dorm, so it has to be worth their 9800 bucks to live in there. The Jayhawks need those students to be happy or they can't have a dorm to begin with. If only 5 students wanna live in there, the bball players are out of luck.

Gary Bedore 2 years, 1 month ago

Don't forget the Jayhawks have film rooms and lounges and stuff like that in the fieldhouse which is about a 3 minute walk from the dorm. Now if the players HAVE to have their film sessions in the dorm instead of the fieldhouse locker room area, yeah the PowerPoint presentor probably would be out of luck. You can bet they'll have sign up sheets, etc. Again, this dorm cannot exist without the cooperation of the non basketball players. NCAA rules dictate that with 16 hoopsters in there this year there must be at least 17 regular students. If it's miserable to live in there, and not worth the 9800 clams per annum, you can bet they'll move out.

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