PHOENIX – Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix will be rocking when projected No. 1-ranked Arizona battles Texas A&M and Grand Canyon plays St. John’s in a nationally televised doubleheader on Tuesday, Dec. 5. The event is managed by Kentucky-based sports marketing firm bd Global.
“The collective excitement around the Arizona and Grand Canyon programs is tremendous heading into next season. With each playing a premier opponent in Phoenix, the arena will certainly have a March Madness-feel on that night,” said Brooks Downing, president of bd Global (www.bdglobalsports.com), the event promoter.
Arizona will come to Phoenix as the presumptive top-ranked team in the nation heading into the season. The Wildcats add Deandre Ayton, the No. 1-ranked incoming freshman, as well as elite prospect Emmanuel Akot to a team returning both Allonzo Trier (17.2 ppg) and Rawle Alkins (10.9 ppg). Last season in Houston, Arizona survived a furious rally in the last five minutes by Texas A&M to beat the Aggies 67-63. A&M will once again be a force in the SEC as the Aggies return four starters and 10 total players representing 82.3 percent of the team’s scoring.
“We are very excited to be a part of this event again this season,” said Arizona coach Sean Miller. “It’s a very competitive field of teams playing in a great environment at Talking Stick Resort Arena. As it was last season, the game with Texas A&M will be a marquee non-conference game against an excellent opponent. The game will also be a tremendous experience for us to be able to play in front of our fans and alumni in the Phoenix area.”
Coach Dan Majerle has overseen Grand Canyon’s transition to the Division I level over the past four years and has transformed the Lopes into one of the nation’s top emerging programs as the team is eligible for NCAA postseason play for the first time this upcoming year. GCU is coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons and a second place finish in the WAC and adds a strong recruiting class to the mix. GCU plays its home games only eight miles from Talking Stick Resort Arena and is will bring its 1,500-person “Havocs” student section to the event. St. John’s is also led by a former NBA star as Hall of Famer Chris Mullin is entering his third season at the helm of his alma mater. The Red Storm return four starters including leading scorer Shamorie Ponds (17.4 ppg).
“We are very excited for the opportunity to play St. John’s at Talking Stick Resort Arena,” said Majerle. “Chris Mullin and I go way back and I look forward to seeing our two teams compete as a part of this event. It will be a great experience for our kids to play where the Suns play, and it will be special for me as I have so many great memories in that building.”
Tickets ranging from $30 – $300 (courtside seating), not including applicable service charges and taxes, go on sale Friday, July 28 at 10 a.m. MT online at www.talkingstickresortarena.com. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at 800-745-3000 or by visiting the arena box office during regular business hours (Monday-Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.).
Complete event information can be found at www.valleyofthesunshootout.com or on Twitter at @ShootoutInPHX. For group sales or sponsorship opportunities, interested parties should contact bd Global at 859-951-6141.