Coat Check | 76ers Fieldhouse Set for Opening Night

by Matt Murphy

Each week, “Coat Check” will highlight the Delaware Blue Coats, the NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers.

For the Delaware Blue Coats, the all-new 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington, Delaware represents a true home.

For the surrounding community, the 161,000 square-foot multipurpose facility near the riverfront will be a beacon for youth sports.

On Wednesday night, the Blue Coats will celebrate 76ers Fieldhouse Opening Night, when the club hosts the Memphis Hustle.

Since its inaugural campaign in the First State in 2013, the Blue Coats franchise has played most of its home games at the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center.

Now, as primary occupants of 76ers Fieldhouse, the team the will enjoy the luxury and perks of permanence.

“More than anything, it’s a place that’s our home,” said Blue Coats interim general manager Matt Lilly. “It’s a place that will have our offices there, we’ll practice there, we’ll have our games there. It’s a place that we can call our own on the day-to-day, but more than that, it’s a place in Wilmington for the community to do the same.”

76ers Fieldhouse seats 2,300 fans for Blue Coats games. The building also features a premium club level that overlooks the court.

“I’m excited just to see the building,” said Blue Coats head coach Connor Johnson. “We’ve seen the pictures. We’ve done walkthroughs. But the way it looks—to have this kind of intimate environment where our guys can really feel like we have a home court advantage—is really exciting to me.

“I think it’ll be good for our program. I think it’s great for the city of Wilmington to hopefully embrace having us there full-time, so I’m excited.”

The new 76ers Fieldhouse sets a high standard in the growing NBA G League. In total, the facility currently houses three full-size basketball courts, with both an indoor and outdoor turf soccer field that will open in the coming months.

“I think it’s going to be as good of a venue as there is in the league,” said Lilly. “We’re excited to hopefully draw a new set of fans in the city of Wilmington and see what comes from that.”

76ers two-way contract player Haywood Highsmith is one of the players who fans will get to see develop up close and personal. A former Division II All-American at Wheeling Jesuit University, Highsmith signed his two-way deal on January 8. He is the only player from a Division II program on an active NBA roster.

“It’s going to be a packed house with a lot of new fans,” said Highsmith. “It’s a new building. There’s going to be a lot of energy in the building. It’s our first arena—we’re not sharing it with anybody—so it’s going to be a very exciting and fun experience for everybody.”

Especially given the Blue Coats’ playing style.

“We like to get up and down,” Highsmith said. “We’re a fast team and we like to bring excitement on both ends of the floor. We like to play together, share the ball, get up and down, and play the right way.”

The Blue Coats will have lots of chances to break in their fresh new floor at 76ers Fieldhouse during the second half of the season, which is highlighted by 10 weekend home games.

True home games, for that matter, marking a most anticipated development.

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For information on tickets, please visit SIXERS.COM/BlueCoats or call 302-504-7587.

 

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