PHOENIX – The countdown to the 2017 NCAA Men’s Final Four began today when the NCAA and the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee unveiled the logo of Phoenix’s first Final Four and announced plans for an NCAA Legacy Restorations project at Harmon Park in central Phoenix.

The NCAA Legacy Restorations project will refurbish an outdoor basketball court at Harmon Park, which annually serves more than 18,000 neighborhood children, many of them underprivileged. This is the first of numerous community projects that will be undertaken as the Valley prepares to host the 2017 Final Four, set for April 1 and April 3, 2017 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

“The NCAA could not be more thrilled to bring its marquee championship back to the western part of the country,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s vice president for men’s basketball. “The logo unveiling is our annual countdown to the Final Four for our hosts, and the people from Arizona State University and the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee were terrific in staging this event. Having administrators and coaches from around the state who have deep connections to the state of Arizona, the city of Phoenix and the history of March Madness made today’s unveiling special. We are looking forward to working with Dawn Rogers and her team over the next year and a half to plan and stage a memorable Final Four.”

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee as well as coaches, athletics administrators and community leaders attended the tipoff event from Arizona in a display of the widespread support for the Final Four.

“We’re excited to launch 2017 Final Four preparations by demonstrating the lasting impact this iconic event will have on the Valley,” said Dawn Rogers, Executive Director of the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee. “We’re grateful to partner with the NCAA and upgrade a treasured facility for the Valley’s next generation of college basketball stars. And we’re only getting started.”

“Growing up in Phoenix I benefited from having great after-school and weekend recreation programs,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Harmon Park is legendary in Phoenix basketball circles and is a perfect choice for the NCAA’s Legacy Restorations project. The Final Four is going to boost our economy, but I’m just as excited to see the lasting impact it will have on Harmon Park and the surrounding community.”

Built in 1927, Harmon Park, located at 1425 S. Fifth Ave. in Phoenix, is a landmark that has attracted college and pro players looking for top-flight pickup competition and was used as a training facility by the Harlem Globetrotters. Along with organized basketball leagues, the park offers a variety of programs for children, including karate, arts and crafts, volleyball, soccer, kickball, pickle ball, homework help and federal meal programs.