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Basketball raises new banner in Trask

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Basketball raises new banner in Trask

The new banner hangs in on the southern end of Trask Coliseum.

The new banner hangs in on the southern end of Trask Coliseum.

The new banner hangs in on the southern end of Trask Coliseum.

The new banner hangs in on the southern end of Trask Coliseum.

Noah Thomas | Sports Editor

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Over the course of last season, UNC Wilmington’s men’s basketball team accomplished a few things it had not done in quite a while. The team now has a permanent reminder of its accomplishments, as a new NCAA banner was raised over the summer.

Late last month, the new addition to Trask Coliseum was made to honor UNCW’s run. The banner — white with teal lettering — was raised in the arena’s rafters to commemorate the tournament appearance.

“NCAA 2016,” as it reads on the banner, sits directly in front of the banner remembering UNCW’s first National Invitational Tournament (NIT) appearance in 1998. It is the first of its kind to be raised since 2006, when coach Brad Brownell and Hall-of-Fame guard John Goldsberry led the Seahawks to a 25-8 record and a pair of CAA crowns.

The appearance in the big dance was just a small part of a much longer season, however. Winning the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament in March — its first in 10 years — served as the team’s defining moment. Making an NCAA Tournament appearance served as icing on the cake.

Nearly upsetting Duke in the first round and becoming the tournament’s first Cinderella team wasn’t bad publicity for the university, either. The Seahawks’ effort contributed to the game being one of those with the highest viewership in NCAA history — more than 5.5 million streams occurred throughout the contest.

Even though the raising of a new NCAA banner is an occasion that does not come around often, there were never plans for a grand unveiling at any UNCW-sponsored event. 

According to Joe Browning, senior associate athletic director at UNCW, problems with the structure of Trask would prevent this.

“Rigging the banner complicates it,” he said. “There are no catwalks (in the rafters) allowing it to be furled up. It’s not easily accessible.”

The athletic department’s unveiling of the banner was posted on Twitter on July 26. Fans will get their first good look at the new addition when Midnight Madness takes over UNCW in late October.

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Basketball raises new banner in Trask