Calvin Murphy thinks it's about time people remember Niagara basketball.
Alongside Murphy, many Niagara University players from over the years will be back in town this weekend as the school hosts its inaugural men's basketball alumni weekend on Saturday and Sunday.
"Back when I was in high school, my high school coach kept suggesting Niagara University over all the scholarship offers," said Murphy, a Naismith Hall of Famer and former NBA All-Star. "He said: ‘You're going to be a part of that school, that's not a school that's going to have you play basketball then forget you.' And he was never, ever more right about anything. When I was at my lowest, they were there. When I was at my highest, they were there. They can never get rid of me."
The weekend is filled with family-friendly activities – from learning how to play basketball from a legend, to getting pictures and autographs, to watching former stars play once more – with lots of food mixed in.
It all gets under way Friday evening with a cookout featuring former players from 6-9 p.m. between Niagara's tennis courts and the Kiernan Center. Entry is $20.
Murphy will host a clinic from 9-11 a.m. Saturday. The session is open to all kids between ages 8 and 16, and the $5 registration fee includes a T-shirt.
Following Murphy's clinic, he will be featured at a luncheon ($25) at Niagara Falls' Como Restaurant from 12-2 p.m.
At 4 p.m., Niagara will host a "Pick Your Seat" event back on campus to sell season tickets.
The main event is an alumni basketball game on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Taps Gallagher Center. Game tickets cost $5. Niagara alums from 1999-2012 will compete.
In the Joe Mihalich era as head coach, Niagara has won two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season championships and one postseason championship. Mihalich took over in 1998.
"We're just so excited, the whole place, we're on cloud nine," Mihalich said. "We just can't wait. It says how much we love Niagara University – players, coaches, managers, we all just love it. It feels like a family reunion. It doesn't feel like a basketball team reunion, it feels like a family reunion."
Murphy said he's looking forward to that reunion as much as anyone.
"Niagara is rich in basketball tradition," Murphy said. "I think people need to be refreshed on what we all can do collectively to make it a basketball school."