Saturday, August 24, 2002

Pacers to train at Xavier

Thomas seeks inroads in Cincinnati market

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Indiana Pacers will make Xavier University's Cintas Center their home for a week-long training camp in early October.

        The two groups agreed on an undisclosed deal that gives the Pacers access to the 2-year-old arena Oct. 1-7 before their NBA exhibition season begins Oct. 9 in Indianapolis.

        Pacers spokesman David Benner said Friday that coach Isiah Thomas made the decision to come to Cincinnati.

        “Isiah wanted to have the team come together by getting the players away from Indianapolis,” Benner said. “But he didn't want to be too far away that the Indianapolis media couldn't cover it.”

        The Pacers also are trying to tap into the local market as the closest NBA franchise, a little more than 100 miles from Cincinnati.

        The team has not decided if practices will be open to the public, but Benner said that is a possibility team officials are looking at. A final decision may not be made until practices begin.

        “That will be left up to (Thomas),” Benner said. “And it may come down to how he thinks practices will go with people there.”

        In recent years, the Pacers have held training camp at Walt Disney World and the University of North Carolina when Larry Brown, a UNC graduate, was Pacers coach. Practices at Walt Disney World were closed to the public because of space constraints, a non-issue at the 10,250-seat Cintas Center.

        Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski said the Pacers will not interfere with any athletic department or university functions.

        The team will go through a two-a-day camp with morning and afternoon practice sessions except on Oct. 4 when Xavier has a home volleyball match against Dayton at 7 p.m.

        “The Pacers agreed to do something different that afternoon,” Bobinski said.

        The Xavier women's and men's basketball teams begin practice Oct. 12 and will be unaffected by the Pacers' camp.


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