Oct. 16, 2008
Note: Correction to time of NIU men's basketball open practice, which will be held from 9 a.m. to Noon at the Convocation Center on October 25.
DeKALB, Ill. -- The Northern Illinois Huskie men's and women's basketball teams officially get their seasons underway on Friday, Oct. 17 with the opening day of practice for the 2008-09 season.
The NIU men's team, under second-year head coach Ricardo Patton, features "A New Class". Sophomore Darion "Jake" Anderson, the 2008 Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year and a member of the preseason MAC All-West Division team, will be joined by just four returnees and 10 players who will make their Huskie debuts this year, including five freshmen.
"I guess if there was a theme for this year, it would have to be a new beginning," Patton said. "I believe the foundation has been laid and the table is set for us to be a contender in this league. We have the right pieces in our program now, and as they continue to grow and get better, we will be on our way."
Northern Illinois women's basketball coach Carol Owens, meanwhile, hopes to build on the experience gained by her players a year ago entering her fourth season. Owens' roster features a blend of youth and experience as four seniors, three juniors and three sophomores will be joined by three freshmen.
She appreciates the contributions that experienced players can make.
"They have done a great job in reaching out to all the freshmen and sophomores," Owens said. "They know the program, they understand the program and they understand me and what I want to do, I feel they are extensions of me.
Owens and her team are inviting all Huskie fans to get their first look at the 2008-09 NIU women's basketball team this Saturday, Oct. 18 as they will hold an open practice at the Convocation Center beginning at 11 a.m. The practice will take place prior to the NIU men's soccer game at Noon as well as the Huskie football contest versus Toledo at 3 p.m.
Huskie fans can check out the 2008-09 edition of the Huskie men's basketball team as Patton and his squad will hold an open practice at the NIU Convocation Center on Saturday, Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to Noon, prior to the NIU-Bowling Green football game at Huskie Stadium that day.
Admission to the open practices is free.
In addition, fans are invited to Eduardo's Restaurant on Lincoln Highway on Thursday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. for a "Sneak Peek" at the 2008-09 NIU men's and women's basketball teams. Patton and Northern Illinois women's basketball head coach Carol Owens and their staffs will be on hand to discuss the upcoming seasons and fans will be able to purchase season tickets at this free event.
Season tickets are available for the upcoming season, with men's basketball tickets priced at $119 for 14 exciting home games, with discounts for NIU faculty and staff, senior citizens and Huskie football and women's basketball season ticket purchasers. Women's basketball prices are just $50 for the entire season and also provide discount opportunities. For more detailed information on tickets, go to www.niuhuskies.com or call the Northern Illinois Athletics Ticket Office at 815-752-6800.
The Huskie men's team opens the 2008-09 season on Sunday, Nov. 2 with an exhibition game versus Freed Hardeman beginning at 2 p.m. in the Convocation Center while the women's exhibition opener is Monday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. against St. Xavier.
-- NIU --