Rahim Lockhart Diary

March 16, 2000

OXFORD, Miss. - "My teammates and I are looking at the NIT as another opportunity to further our season, get to our goal of a 20-win season and win the NIT championship. Reaching the NCAA Tournament was our goal all season, but playing in the NIT is a great.

"Again, our goal was to make the NCAA Tournament, but all the experts in the preseason were not expecting anything from us. They thought we would have a losing season this year. They said it would be a rebuilding year for us. Well, for this to be a rebuilding year and advancing to the NIT, I think we've done a pretty good job. The NIT is also another chance to show that we are one of the top basketball programs in the country.

"I've always been a New York Knick fan, so it would be a great honor to play in Madison Square Garden (where the NIT semifinals and finals are held), which is considered the Mecca of basketball. I would love to have the opportunity to go there and play, but we have to win a couple more games to get there.

"I think the loss to Florida was indicative of our season. At times, it looked like we were better than they were, and at other times, it looked like they were the better team. We were just inconsistent in the loss to Florida at the SEC Tournament. However, a lot of the reason why we are inconsistent is our inexperience. As we have matured this season, we have learned what it takes to win in the SEC, and I think that will pay off for us next year.

"On Friday before we left Atlanta (after the loss to Florida), the team visited a couple of schools in the Atlanta area, and talked with the kids. It was a tremendous outing, and it gave us a valuable opportunity to talk with some young people.

"Danny Buggs (former NFL player, also set up team's outing to local schools) is a wonderful, Christ-centered man. He talked to us at our pregame meal before our game versus Florida in the SEC Tournament. His talk did not center on our game that night or our athletic careers, but it was concentrated on us getting to know Jesus. For me, Danny's talk was inspiring. His talk was so great that I'm sure every member of the team got something out of his message. He is a truly an inspiration."


 

 

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