Croup’s Corner – Home court advantage… Finally

Written By Josh Croup, Sports Columnist

What is home to you?

At this point in your college career, do you call your dorm your home, especially if you never leave it during the day? Do you still call your parents’ place your home, or have you been removed from there for so long that it’s just your parents’ place now?

In sports, a home venue is supposed to be welcoming. It’s supposed to be accessible and give a team the sense that it at least has a mild advantage.

The home venue for Point Park basketball for the last 20 years was in West Mifflin, a small borough southeast of Downtown.

It was at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) South campus gym. The gym in the Student Center hosts home Point Park volleyball games is too small for the basketball teams to play home games, but it suffices for practices.

The drive to CCAC South was usually unpleasant, especially during construction season (which is all seasons) or rush hour. The 11.2-mile journey lasted anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes on a good day. Players had to leave campus with plenty of time just to make sure there wouldn’t be a chance of them arriving late to their own home gym.

The long drive home after a loss certainly wasn’t fun.

And the fans. Oh, the fans. They had to hope that the shuttle driver that day took a route that wasn’t backed up for miles on end, and cross their fingers that they made it to the gym in time for tipoff. A simple night of supporting some fellow Pioneers turned into an entire evening’s commitment that wasn’t worth it to many students.

All of that changes this year.

A new home venue was announced for the Point Park men’s and women’s basketball teams. The Pioneers will play home games this year at the CCAC Allegheny campus gym on the North Side.

No more 45-minute commutes for home games, no more painfully long bus rides home after a tough loss and no more waiting for the shuttle driver if you want to leave early.

The new venue is an easy five-minute drive across the Allegheny River. It’s also easily accessible by taking the T to the Allegheny station followed by a short walk up the hill and around the corner.

Gabe Bubon, the new men’s basketball coach, will save a lot of gas milage this year on commutes to the gym. His walking commute to CCAC Allegheny totals 10 minutes.

“If you ever want to make me smile, just mention that we’re over at CCAC on the North Side,” Bubon said. “It has just made all of our lives a lot easier.”

The move is poised to bring more fans to Point Park home games. The excuse that the venue is just too far away won’t work this year. It’s on Point Park now to seize the opportunity to grow its fan base by getting fans to pack the CCAC Allegheny gym.