The ten year old version of me is stoked right now. On Tuesday, the University of Missouri announced that its men’s basketball team will return to the Hearnes Center, where they played their home games from 1972 to 2004, for an exhibition game on Homecoming Weekend. The game is set to honor the 1994 Big 8 Championship team which finished 28-4, including a 14-0 Big 8 record and an Elite 8 appearance. I grew up watching games at Hearnes, and spent my first two years at Mizzou attending every game there, so this brings back some great memories. Here are sevem reasons I’m excited to go to an exhibition for the first time ever.
1. The 1994 Team is my favorite Mizzou team of all time. I was ten years old during that season, and was at the age where players seemed larger than life. And that team had it’s share of big name guys. You had a lot of great personalities and talent in All-American point guard Melvin Booker, All-Conference center Jevon Crudup, superstar freshman Kelly Thames, a freshman Jason Sutherland, senior Lamont Frazier and a top transfer in Paul O’Liney.
2. Melvin Booker is my favorite Mizzou player of all-time. Probably because of moments like this. Hopefully he will be there with the rest of the 1994 team.
3. This could all be a ploy to get Booker’s son, Devin Booker, who happens to be a superstar high school recruit, to commit to Mizzou. And who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory?
4. There is a decibel meter over the tunnel to the visitor’s locker room. One of my favorite parts of games at Hearnes was seeing how high the crowd could crank it up to during a close game. Hearnes just seemed louder than Mizzou Arena to me.
5. The announcement had me reminiscing about a lot of great moments at Hearnes, and inspired me to go find some of them of YouTube. The Corey Tate game. Mizzou taking out number 3 Oklahoma when I was a freshman in college. Anthony Peeler doing Anthony Peeler things. Ah, memories.
6. I want to eat a Hearnes Dog. A friend of mine has a theory that all of the hot dogs sold at Hearnes Center were bought by the University in 1972, freeze dried, and have been reanimated and sold at games ever since. I can’t prove that is true, but I bet you can’t prove it isn’t.
7. Norm Stewart will be there!