Las Vegas Sun: Hoops Academy “nicer” than expected

The Tarkanian Basketball Academy features four full-length courts on second-grade maple wood, custom wall curtains that separate each and half of the building’s bleachers are permanent.

“They’re more expensive, but more comfortable,” said Danny Tarkanian, who operates the academy. “The wall curtains cost more, but they make a difference. We didn’t cut corners.

“It turned out nicer than we thought.”

After eight months of construction at a cost of $2.3 million, the non-profit TBA moved into its permanent new headquarters, on South Rancho behind Palace Station, on May 9.

“Everyone has been real complimentary,” Tarkanian said. “It looks really good.”

The academy has coordinated youth leagues in several gyms around the city every fall, winter and spring, but having their own building allowed the Tarkanians to run a summer version in June.

More than 600 children participated, including 23 Las Vegas-area teams and 38 from outside Nevada. The TBA’s eighth-grade Lady Sharks will compete in the Amateur Athletic Union nationals next month in Roanoke, Va.

The academy boasts a coaching roster of 17, and it will be the site of various camps, leagues and tournaments throughout the year.

Tarkanian said Station Casinos gave the family a “very good deal” on its land lease and that a friend who runs a construction business agreed to build the complex at cost.

Tarkanian secured most of a bank construction loan by borrowing against the life insurance policies of his parents, former UNLV basketball coach Jerry and Las Vegas city councilwoman Lois Tarkanian.

Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce recently moved to Las Vegas and will conduct an elite basketball camp at the academy Aug. 1-5. Adidas will run its summer tournament there, too.

Each seasonal youth session features an hour of skills and team practices during the week, and games during the weekend. Open gym begins at noon, Monday through Friday.

“There are a lot of things going on there,” Jerry Tarkanian said. “The place is packed.”