RALEIGH — Some former N.C. State basketball players traded their high tops for hard hats Saturday morning. They joined a group of fans to tour Raleigh's new arena, where the Wolfpack will play next fall.
"It is going to be the number one basketball complex in the ACC and in the country," a tour guide said before giving the group an insider's look at the new Entertainment and Sports Arena.
The arena is still a work in progress. Construction crews were hard at work while Wolfpack fans made the rounds in hard hats.
Steve Nuce played on the 1974 championship team.
"It's fantastic," Nuce said. "It looks state of the art. I think it's going to be a great place to view a game. It's going to be really fun."
Athletes and alumni say it is an exciting time for the Wolfpack program. The team will move to the new arena after 50 years atReynolds Coliseum. Ray Smith attended the first game at Reynolds in 1949.
"I think it's just one of the most wonderful things we've ever done here," Smith said. "I really do. I think it's going to be great."
The arena will have nearly 20,000 seats, 760,000 square feet, and plenty of perks, which should make it a little easier to say goodbye to the coliseum they have called home for five decades.
"My father actually played in Reynolds in the 60s, and I played there a couple of years ago, so it is going to be real sentimental," says Billy Kretzer. "I think it's neat."
One thing players really like about the new arena is that it is designed to preserve the same atmosphere they have at Reynolds. Students will get some of the seats that are closest to the action.