By Kellis Robinett
Tribune News Service
MANHATTAN -- With basketball season fast approaching, Kansas State coach Bruce Weber is more concerned with how the Wildcats look on the floor than how they look on the new video board hanging above them at Bramlage Coliseum.
When asked how K-State will handle pregame videos and starting lineups this season with new, massive high-definition video boards and an improved lighting and systems at its home arena, Weber did little more than shrug.
But he did admit this much: "People will be able to hear it and see it much better, whatever we do."
For most fans, K-State's exhibition game with Washburn on Sunday will be their first opportunity to see the $2.4 million worth of offseason renovations made at Bramlage Coliseum. At the center of the improvements is a new video board, which features four Panasonic screens (25 feet by 18 feet with 6mm high-definition display) that dwarfs the video board in both size (it's four times larger) and appearance. It gives the arena a different feel, much like similar upgrades added to Oklahoma State's Gallagher-Iba Arena last year.
The K-State women's team has already played an exhibition game under the new video board, and those in attendance raved about the new atmosphere, including Weber.
"My wife and I were joking that from her seat she is going to get a sore neck looking up," Weber said. "I was in the first row, and obviously it is different. I think you walk in there and you are in awe of it. It is unbelievable. It's great for the fans. It adds a whole new dynamic to the arena, there is no doubt ... The lighting is brighter. The whole thing adds a new element to it. You walk in there, it looks like a new arena. It's bright and shiny. I like that we lightened the floor and re-did the floor.
"It gives you a nice, bright glow. Hopefully it is intimidating, along with our team."
K-State forward Thomas Gipson has practiced under the new video board several times, but he is looking forward to seeing it show off big images and pump out sound in a true game setting.
At the least, it should add a small degree of excitement to K-State's lone exhibition.
"It is real bright," Gipson said. "I can say that ... Big TVs. I mean, it's a good experience knowing that Kansas State has come along with things like that. I will be excited to play under it."