USS Bataan Welcomes Georgetown Hoyas, Florida Gators On Board

USS Bataan Welcomes Georgetown Hoyas, Florida Gators On Board

Players from the University of Florida Gators and Georgetown University Hoyas men’s basketball team toured the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), Nov. 8.

The teams will play in the Navy Marine Corps Classic basketball game held on the ship’s flight deck, Nov. 9, during the City of Jacksonville’s Week of Valor while the ship is in port Naval Station Mayport.

The tour was a rare opportunity for both the players and the Sailors aboard Bataan.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Brandon Bolden, power forward for the Georgetown University Hoyas. “Not many people get to stand on top of the flight deck who are not part of the Navy. I’m soaking it in.”

The ship’s crew got a chance to meet the players as they toured the ship’s hangar bay and flight deck.

“It was really exciting,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Jarrett Keller, a Bataan Sailor. “It is good to meet all the players and I think it is just as cool for them to meet us.”

The teams learned more about the ship they will be competing on.

“We wanted the players to embrace being able to play basketball here, and also what Bataan is about, her capabilities, and being in this Navy environment,” said Ensign Romeo Garcia, a Bataan tour guide.

The basketball players are curious about how the upcoming game will turn out with the court being in this unique location.

“I’m just trying to get used to being in here, standing on a ship on the water, and playing on a court that’s not on the ground,” said Bolden. “The warm-up is going to tell us how the game is going to be.”

Naval Today Staff, November 12, 2012; Image: US Navy