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Students Camp Out for Priority Seating at First Basketball Game in New Pauley

UCLA Den pass holders have already set up camp outside of Pauley Pavilion in order to secure spots in the priority seating area for the arena’s inaugural game.

“I’m [out here] because I’m just a passionate basketball fan,” said fourth-year bioengineering student Dimitri Karahalios. “I want to be part of history on Pauley’s opening night, and want to have some fun with my friends,” Karahalios said.

After 33 months and nearly $136 million in renovation costs, Pauley will once again host the UCLA Men’s Basketball team Friday night.

“Pauley looks a lot more modern, almost like an NBA arena,” Karahalios said.

The Bruins will play the Indiana State Sycamores tomorrow night at 8 p.m. PST.

Though the team will begin the season in the new arena, they will not be playing with new recruit Shabazz Muhammad, who is still undergoing NCAA investigations.

“I’m disappointed [Shabazz Muhammad] can’t play but I’m still excited for the team,” said Allyson Hanh, a second-year political science student. “I mean, it’d be more exciting and there would be a lot more attention on the game [if he were here]… [but] I just can’t wait to sit inside Pauley and watch a game.”

Students have gathered in the alley behind Pauley Pavilion, parallel to Bruin Walk. Tents and television sets provide shelter and entertainment, respectively, as students wait in uncharacteristically grim L.A. weather. There will be a random roll call at 6:30 a.m. for priority seating, or the seats located closest to the court.

Luckily, the campers have plenty of activities to keep them occupied until then.

First-year biology student Taylor Nava arrived at 8 a.m. to help set up camp for his group. The group’s provisions for the night include: a beer pong table, a football, four tents, an N64, Xbox 360, Wii and a big screen TV.

“Oh, and we have a surround-sound stereo system coming,” said second-year civil engineering student Michelle Barnes-Wallace.

Camping in the rain has never sounded so good.

Have you ever camped out before a game at Pauley Pavilion? Share your experiences in the comments below or tweet us @dbmojo.

Reporting by Taylor Aquino, Hong Chen and Chelsea Deng, Bruin contributors.

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