Rockets interested in McNeese
Consider practicing in Lake Charles
McNeese State’s new Health and Performance Center might play host to the Houston Rockets next month, according to a statement made by Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta on Wednesday evening.
Fertitta, who also owns the Golden Nugget Lake Charles Hotel and Casino and Lake Charles’ food-delivery service Waitr, told a Houston television station that practicing in Lake Charles — about a 2-hour drive or 30-minute flight from Houston — would be a convenient way to isolate the Rockets from distractions.
“It gives them a little bit of seclusion,” Fertitta told Houston’s KRIV. “They can concentrate, then play golf, have fun and we have world-class suites we can put them all in.”
No dates were available but it will likely be for a handful of practices and not the entire training camp.
Fertitta’s statement seemed to catch McNeese officials off guard.
“Hosting the Houston Rockets would be an honor,” McNeese Athletic Director Bruce Hemphill said in a statement released by the school. “The Rockets are a first-class organization and we are building a first-class facility.”
The yet-to-be completed facility was scheduled to be ready in June. The McNeese teams will use the facility to practice in October. The Cowgirls will play the first game on Nov. 11 and the Cowboys on Nov. 16.
Fertitta has been exploring potential sites in the Houston suburbs for a new training facility. The Rockets have been using the one-court Toyota Center since 2003. Several NBA teams have since upgraded, expanded or constructed their facilities in recent years.
The Rockets are coming off a season in which they took the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to a decisive Game 7 in the Western Conference Finals, and they return a star-studded lineup that includes Chris Paul and James Harden, and they are expected to sign Carmelo Anthony in the coming days.
Rendering of basketball court inside the new McNeese H&HPE facility.