Michigan State men's basketball faced No. 1 North Carolina on Veterans' Day, 11-11-11, on the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego, Calif, in the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic. The game marked the first-ever college basketball game played on an aircraft carrier. Follow the Spartans here at MSUSpartans.com as they traveled to San Diego and took part in this historic event.
Make sure to follow the Spartan men's basketball program on Twitter @msu_basketball.
Nov. 11, 2011
The event was built up as more than just a basketball game. And those in attendance will tell you that ended up being the case.
Although Michigan State lost 67-55 to No. 1 North Carolina, the score will not be the lasting memory for the team and staff. The fact that they were able to make history, by playing a basketball game on the deck of an aircraft carrier, in front of the President of the United States, none-the-less, will stick with them forever.
Both teams walked onto the court wearing camouflage jerseys with U.S.A. replacing the player names on the back, a symbolic sign that in the big picture, we all play for the same team. And as the final seconds of the game wound down, chants of U.S.A. could be heard from the 8,111 fans throughout the unique venue, a fitting end to a Veterans' Day celebration. In a show of support after the game, the Spartans gave their uniforms to members of the military on the court. Many, like senior Austin Thornton, signed the jersey and took photos with the troops in attendance.
Coaches always say each game is a learning experience, but this game, and the two days leading up to the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic, will most likely turn out to be more valuable than any other.
Quicken Loans Carrier Classic Highlights
Quicken Loans Carrier Classic Photo Gallery
Quicken Loans Carrier Classic Photo Gallery (AP)
Quicken Loans Carrier Classic Photo Gallery (via USS Carl Vinson Facebook)
Also, check out the U.S. Navy's interviews of Coach Izzo, Draymond Green and Austin Thornton, along others from yesterday's shootaround on the USS Carl Vinson.
Nov. 10, 2011
As the sun set in Coronado, the Spartans headed back to the USS Carl Vinson for a open practice in front of the troops and media. Multiple members of the MSU team spoke about their experiences over the past couple days.
"To finally be out here, shooting under the lights, in front of all these people, it is great," said Brandon Wood. "I have seen pictures leading up to the event, but to actually be out here and see the seats and the big screens up there, it is just amazing. It has been great to be able to honor our country. The military does a lot for us. Just being able to give back to them is amazing. Just to be here to support them and tell them how much we support them. Just to be part of the event. We are just blessed to be on the same team in a way."
"It is nice to actually get to meet people that serve our country," said Travis Trice on the interaction with the military. "They are sacrificing their time and their lives for us, so we can do what we want to do."
"This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Keith Appling on the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic experience. "I am very excited to be here, and so are my teammates.. It is all a great experience for me. I just have been taking it all in."
"The troops have been very thankful, but we are also thankful for what they do for us every single day," said Draymond Green on the reaction of the troops. "Us playing basketball doesn't amount to near what they do for us and this country. I know they are thankful and happy to have us aboard, but we are happy to be aboard and we are thanking them every day as well."
"I never thought we would be on a ship playing basketball," said Brandan Kearney on playing basketball on the aircraft carrier. "We are actually on the water about to play a game outside. It is great to be a part of this."
Earlier in the day, head coach Tom Izzo took part in the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic press conference aboard the USS Carl Vinson, along with UNC head coach Roy Williams, both athletic directors, and other military dignitaries. After the press conference, Izzo and the team went to Coronado High School for an hour and a half practice.
Check out the U.S. Navy video of MSU's tour of the USS Carl Vinson yesterday.
Also, watch a time lapse of the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic seating and court being set up.
Also, check out what Tom Izzo thought of the special Veteran's Day uniforms.
Nov. 9, 2011
The Spartans departed Lansing this afternoon for San Diego, and upon arrival got a private tour of the USS Carl Vinson. The team got their first look at the court and the setup on the flight deck.
After leaving the naval base, the Spartans checked into the Hotel Del Coronado and took part in a dinner party at the hotel which included both the MSU and North Carolina basketball programs, and dignitaries from the Navy and Morale Entertainment.
Grinz On Green: Spartans Humbled By Opportunity
Head Coach Tom Izzo's Carrier Classic Preview Press Conference
Feature story in the Lansing State Journal on Austin Thornton and his brother Thomas
Nov. 8, 2011
Check out the Navy's daily update on board the USS Carl Vinson, giving us a look at the hanger bay.
Nov. 7, 2011
Check out Navy's daily update on the USS Carl Vinson, giving us a look at the preparations for the game.
Nov. 6, 2011
The Michigan State basketball team practiced in its new camouflaged uniforms on Sunday morning. The new uniforms were designed by Nike and will be worn in the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic on Friday. Watch the video to see what the Spartans thought of the uniforms.
Previously, the team discussed what it was looking forward to at the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic.
The U.S. Navy sent a video crew to East Lansing last week to get the team's feelings on the upcoming Quicken Loans Carrier Classic.