Scores of workers were busy throughout the Jam Events Center as they frantically try to get the facility operational by the time the NBA Development League season begins.
But to be on the safe side, the Jam has delayed its home opener by four days. The home opener is now Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. vs. Utah. The original opener, scheduled for Sunday against the Los Angeles D-Fenders, will now be a road game. The D-Fenders and Jam will play two straight in Bakersfield Feb. 2-3 (only one of those dates was a Jam home game originally) to make up for the site switch this weekend.
"We're about five days from being there, but we didn't want to take a chance," co-owner David Higdon said Monday during the Jam's media day.
Two Jam Saturday home games will be played in Rabobank Arena, Feb. 6 and March 13. Another home game will be played in Boise, Idaho, as part of the D-League Showcase Jan 4-7. That leaves 22 games in the new Jam Events Center.
Higdon and majority owner Stan Ellis have big plans for the Event Center, and it goes beyond Jam home games, Higdon said.
"The Jam is actually in the third position of the business model," Higdon said. "No. 1, as far as revenue goes, is what we can do with corporate events."
The Events Center can hold corporate events, and Higdon said eight have been lined up, at a minimum of $10,000 apiece.
"We have 300 or whatever number of days to fill up," Higdon said. "You can have a business dinner in here and eventually there will be a satellite TV system hooked up so you can do a video conferencing type of thing."
From May through September, Higdon said the Event Center will also be available for youth basketball camps. "It's about our own building and our own facility being able to make money," he said. "We're saving on the rent we're used to spending at Rabobank; that goes to pay the mortgage payment on the building. We've been able to cut the majority of our staff.
"Now we run lean and mean and now we have a true way of generating revenue," Higdon said. "That was never going to happen on the basketball side. We were never going to break even, or come close to breaking even. ... We still haven't got it all figured out. It's all coming together.
"We knew we'd be able to rent the facility. We didn't spare any expense. If people are going to come over here and have a party, they'll feel like they'll get their money's worth."
Coach Will Voigt has 14 players vying for the final 10-man roster, which is due at the D-League office at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
D-League teams were supposed to be down to 12 players by now, but the Jam got two extra spots because of injuries to top draft pick Amara Sy, a 6-foot-8 forward, and Benson Callier, a 6-6 guard-forward who made the training camp roster from a tryout camp.
Voigt, citing an unfamiliarity with D-League policy regarding injuries, declined to reveal what the injuries were.
If the players' injuries won't allow them to play early in the season, D-League rules allow players to be waived because of injury, and when they are healty, the original team has first crack at retaining them.
Voigt said he has been very pleased with all 16 remaining players. "Usually a couple of guys cut themselves with their attitude or lack of work ethic, but we haven't had any of that," he said. "We've had great guys who are all working hard. We've got some hard decisions to make."
One rookie must be on the final roster. A rookie is defined as a first-year professional player. Three are still on the Jam roster: Anthony Goods, a 6-3 guard from Stanford; Lance Hurdle, a 6-1 guard from Miami (Fla.); and Stephen McDowell, a 6-1 guard from Tenn.-Chattanooga.
"All I can do is my best every day," McDowell said. "Whatever the Lord has planned for me I'll be ready for."