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Jamie Dixon speaks at Tuesday's NIT Season Tip-Off press conference.

Nov. 20, 2012


Tuesday, November 20, 2012, Marriott Marquis Hotel, New York, N.Y.

Quoting Pittsburgh Head Coach Jamie Dixon 

As everyone knows we love coming to New York.  Greg mentioned to me today, our sports information guy, that we’ve played 42 games in the Garden in the past 11 years so we do look at as our second home. It is truly because of the players we recruit from here, our history, and my personal history my parents being from New York but also I played in the Preseason NIT when I played at TCU.  I actually travelled with the NIT all-star team . . . Do you still have that? We stayed in the nicest hotels, I remember that, and the nicest restaurants. Dan (Gavitt), if you’re still going to have that I’ll sign up for it.

As John said there are preseason tournaments and then there are preseason tournaments and this is the one you want to be in.  For me personally, for our program and I think any program in the country.  The one problem is we’re going to play Michigan and they’re number four in the country.  Their closest game has been about 35 or 40 points so we know how good they are, how well they shoot and how well-coached they are year after year.  So, we’re excited about the opportunity, we’re excited to come to our second home and be back here and bring our players back home.  It is truly the tournament we want to be in and we’re lucky to be here. 

Quoting Michigan Head Coach John Beilein

Michigan is thrilled to be in the NIT and to be at Madison Square Garden.  We have tremendous alumni support in the metropolitan area and it’s just thrilling for our guys to be here.  We told them from the very beginning, there are preseason tournaments and then there are preseason tournaments.  The preseason NIT is as good as it gets. We’re thrilled we could get past the first two games.  The only thing that’s not thrilling is to have to play Jamie and Pitt. The have a tremendous team, you’re going to have to earn every possession every time and you’re kids better come to play hard, smart and really tough. We realize that we have a very young team we will start a freshman and the first three guys off the bench are freshmen.  We all know as coaches that always presents challenges throughout the year. I’m sure we’ll have those and we’ll keep playing through it.  It’s all part of the process of bonding together here for a few days at Thanksgiving in New York and getting better through it.  We’re thrilled to be a part of it. 

Quoting Kansas State Head Coach Bruce Weber

It’s exciting for us to be here.  Obviously when you make a transition and take over a program you want to have positive steps and this was a positive step for us to get to New York.  We have three New York players on our team so it was big for them and then Rodney McGruder, our senior, the face of our program, is a DC kid so it’s a lot of good things for them.  So we’re off to a good start it’s not always easy to make that transition, getting the guys to believe in what we’re trying to get them to do but they’ve bought in and just excited about we have a good group of seniors and a lot of positive underclassmen that we believe can do some stuff.  We have a tough opponent in Delaware.  We know they have great guard play to go to Virginia and win can’t be an easy task.  So we’re excited to play at Madison Square Garden and get our guys here and it’s been a great time for K-State with our football program and the success they’ve had.  There are just a lot of things going on in a positive atmosphere in Manhattan.  Hopefully we can continue to play well this week and continue making progress as a program 

Quoting Delaware Head Coach Monté Ross

I want to thank the committee for inviting us to the NIT Season Tip-Off.  I guess we are crashing the party here a little bit but we’ll take it. The first think I learned, I had a pretty good mentor who was a very quiet guy; Phil Martelli, if you guys don’t know. He always told me whenever you go to a card game, whenever you go to a tournament, you have to look for the fish. The fish is the guy who probably doesn’t belong.  What he taught me is that if you don’t see a fish then you’re it.  I’m looking around here and I don’t see a fish so I guess that means we’re it.  

We’re very excited to be here; this does so much for our program and building a program and being able to get to this point when you’re playing in the Mecca of college basketball, the Mecca of pro basketball.  We don’t have any New York guys on our team but we have a New York guy on our staff that makes up for any New York guys that makes up for all the New York guys on all these other teams.  That’s all he talks about is New York, New York, New York. My son drove up on the bus with us and was asleep coming up.  He actually woke my son up from a dead sleep when we were approaching NYC and said to you see that over there and my son said, “I just want to go to sleep.”

But again we’re so excited to be here and we have some guys on our team that will perform well in a setting such as this.  We have a mature group. We have a group that has tremendous leadership and as all us coaches know when you want to be good and you have a chance to achieve dreams, leadership is very important and we have some great leadership.  I’m very proud to have the opportunity for these guys because they’re a good group of guys who will take the floor tomorrow night against a very difficult to play Kansas State team.  Some of their numbers are just astounding.  We did the scouting report with our guys and I was scared to show them the numbers for fear they wouldn’t even get on the bus.  But Bruce has done an unbelievable job with that program in his first year.  We thank the committee again for inviting us and we’ll do our best to hold up our end of the program.

NIT Season Tip-Off Press Conference

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