One of the hottest environments for college basketball is Maples Pavilion, home of Stanford's basketball Cardinal.
"Maples Pavilion has become of the West's most notorious pits,"
wrote Arizona Republic sports columnist Greg Hansen. "The
Maples Pavilion crowd has a unique feature or two. They are, oh,
maybe 3 1/2 inches from the court ... And the raucous Stanford
pep band makes it impossible to carry on a conversation."
Veteran Bay Area sports columnist Monte Poole has seen many big
games at Maples Pavilion and is impressed with the crowd's love
of Stanford Basketball.
"The floor is shaking. The fans are standing. And standing. And
standing. And standing. Some of these people have painted their
faces. They're stomping, yelling, clapping, screaming and
behaving as if they're in ... well ... Berkeley."
Denver Post sportswriter Mike Knisley once wrote "Maples
Pavilion has become one of the most difficult arenas in the Pac-10
Conference for visiting teams ... Stanford enjoys an advantage that
has earned the envy - and the enmity - of the league."
Enthusiasm reached another high level with the
introduction of the Cardinal Sixth Man Club in 1993-94, the brainchild of the
Stanford sports marketing department. In 1998, students camped outside Maples Pavilion two-weeks before Sixth-Man memberships went on sale to earn the right to join the club. Members are admitted to all home games, receive a Sixth-Man t-shirt and special, mid-court seating, and provide the Cardinal with a real home-court advantage on a nightly basis.
"It was great," said Cardinal head coach Mike Montgomery. "It has gotten us terrific student involvement at
Stanford center Jim Morgan ('94), said "Opponents fear coming here. It's a true
Dedicated March 1, 1969, the 7,391-seat structure serves the entire university as a multi-purpose facility. It was
built at a cost of $3.3 million. It was named after its principal donor, the late Roscoe Maples, a member of the
1904 Stanford class.
The Maples Pavilion floor, acknowledged as one of the finest basketball surfaces in the
world, is a copy of that in the old Encina Pavilion. The unique floor design lessens the
athlete's chances of sustaining leg, ankle, heel and foot injuries while providing spring
action ideal for higher jumping.
Three feet below the maple surface are 18 inches of pea gravel. Then two inches of sand
provide a smooth surface for a membrane of heavy black visqueen. On top of the
visqueen sits a six-inch concrete slab covered with 30-pound felt paper.
The actual floor construction began with sleepers being bolted into the concrete. Above that, wooden wedges
were placed on the sleepers as a base for the joints which are 3 x 3 dressed fir, laid crosswise on eight-foot
centers, three joists high. The nine-inch cross-hatched layer of wood and air provides the coiled-spring effect.
Since a solid floor as large as 173 feet by 105 feet would sweat, the flooring ends two inches from the wall
permitting the underneath sections to breath.
In addition to the seating areas free of obstructions, the pavilion has floor space for three basketball courts
crosswise, or four volleyball courts.
The Stanford men's and women's basketball and women's
volleyball teams play all their home games in Maples. In the past,
the Cardinal tennis teams have converted the area into an indoor
court for matches against top national competition.
The pavilion is utilized throughout the year by university staff
and students for recreational purposes. During the winter
academic quarter, Maples is used continually on weekdays,
beginning at 10 a.m. with physical education classes and ending with intramural
competition at 1 a.m. Sandwiched in between are noontime recreational basketball,
women's basketball practice and men's basketball practice. On weekends when no
intercollegiate competition is scheduled, the pavilion is used by intramural teams.
In addition to intercollegiate, intramural and physical education classes, occasional concerts are held in Maples.
The pavilion is also used for banquets and lectures.