KANSAS CITY — The College Basketball Experience is what the CBE in the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic stands for.
The Experience is an interactive museum that is intended to give its visitors the same feeling that the players in college basketball have. It shares a lobby with the newly constructed Sprint Center in Kansas City, where the CBE Classic semifinal rounds took place Monday and championship and consolation games will be played tonight.
At the Experience, you receive a pre-game pep talk from a coach as you ride the elevator up to the main floor of the museum. When you exit the elevator, you are greeted with cheers from fans and cheerleaders alike. Unfortunately the cheers come from television screens and not the mouths of beautiful college girls.
Regardless, it does feel as though you are walking on to the floor of a major college basketball arena.
There is an assortment of interactive elements to the Experience. You can try your hand at shooting free throws while a video crowd distracts you or work on dunking on a variety of sized hoops.
It’s not all about the glamour of college basketball, the Experience captures the fundamental aspects of the game as well. There is a machine that allows you to box out a dummy in order to grab an offensive rebound, and then lay the ball into the hoop for two points.
DeShawn Taylor was one of the patrons at the Experience. He said it does a great job of capturing what college basketball is really like.
He would know since he played college basketball at Florida A&M University.
The most popular feature of the Experience on Monday night was a full basketball court where anybody can play pick-up games. Taylor, who currently plays for the Arkansas Hawks of the International Basketball League, jumped in a few games with members of the Paseo High School basketball team of Kansas City.
Desmond Richardson, a junior at Paseo, said that he really enjoyed the Experience, so much so that he might not even go to the games being played at the Sprint Center later in the evening.
Why wouldn’t Richardson want to go to games featuring some of the top basketball teams in the nation?
“I can see them on T.V. anytime,” Richardson said. “I’d rather play basketball every day. I’m probably going to stay in the gym all night long.”
Taylor wasn’t too happy to hear that some of the younger players might not catch either of the games.
“They (the high school players) need to experience the environment (of a college game) if they want to play in college,” Taylor said.
Well, the Experience can’t do everything to capture the college environment that was taking place in the Sprint Center, but it tries its best to wrap everything into a package that anyone can enjoy.