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Grand Canyon will face Nevada in inaugural Jerry Colangelo classic

Grand Canyon is among the four college basketball teams that will take part in the first ever Jerry Colangelo Classic hosted by Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.

The one-day double-header on Dec. 9, 2018, will feature head coach Dan Majerle’s Antelopes facing off against the Nevada Wolfpack, while Tennessee will play Gonzaga.

“I’m very excited to be hosting a collegiate basketball event with the Basketball Hall of Fame in the beautiful city I call home,” Colangelo, the former owner of the Phoenix Suns, said in a statement. “Talking Stick Resort Arena, home of the Phoenix Suns, is a fantastic venue and we hope the fans will take the time to explore Phoenix and all the city has to offer.”

Colangelo, who is also the chairman of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, helped the GCU basketball team vie for Division I status beginning in 2013, when Majerle was hired to run the program.

Heading into 2018-19, Grand Canyon lost Josh Braun and Casey Benson on the perimeter but returns leading scorer Alessandro Lever, who won the WAC Freshman of the Year honor. The 6-foot-10 center also was named as a First Team All-WAC selection after averaging 12.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

The Antelopes will face a Nevada team that could be a top-10 squad next season.

The Wolfpack are coming off a Sweet Sixteen loss to Loyola Chicago and could return top players Caleb and Cody Martin, who are testing the NBA Draft waters. Nevada also received a commitment from five-star recruit Jordan Brown this offseason.

“Playing an opponent like Nevada will only make us better, so we’re excited to be a part of the Jerry Colangelo Classic,” Majerle said in a release. “Mr. Colangelo has been a big part of my life. He is a huge part of this university. To be able to play in an event named after him is a great honor for GCU. It will be a great experience for our kids to play where the Suns play, and it’s always great to go back to a building where I have so many special memories.”

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