FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (NNS) -- The upcoming inaugural Quicken Loans Carrier Classic basketball game will kick off the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) 2011 season aboard USS Carl Vinson on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
The University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels will face off against the Michigan State University (MSU) Spartans in this unique opportunity to support the troops.
"When I first heard about the whole big idea of the carrier I was kinda nervous because this is a game that puts you to the test," said Branden Dawson, Michigan State Spartans Guard. "This is something big for the program and the players. We're hyped and excited [to be in] this big atmosphere with the troops, the press and the millions of people that have a chance to watch the game."
Both teams expressed their gratitude to be among the first players to participate in the classic.
"I'm so honored that they chose UNC to be able to go out there to San Diego and not only represent our school but also support the troops," said Harrison Barnes, UNC Tar Heels Forward. "They do so much for us. They go out there and put their lives on the line every day."
This opportunity will give the players from both teams the opportunity to interact with Sailors and learn more about the military culture.
"We as basketball players get so much press so I think it's kinda nice to realize what this game is really about," said Barnes. "It's not UNC versus Michigan State. It's about showing appreciation for our troops. A lot of wounded warriors are going to be there and I want to say thank you to them.
Photo Gallery: http://www.navy.mil/view_gallery.asp?category_id=154
To watch interviews with players and coaches of the teams, visit
> http://www.navy.mil/swf/mmu/mmplyr.asp?id=16425 and http://www.navy.mil/swf/mmu/mmplyr.asp?id=16406.
Quicken Loans Carrier Classic will be aired live on American Forces Network.
Visit http://myafn.dodmedia.osd.mil/ for details.
For more information go to www.navy.mil.