Andy Kennedy And Ole Miss Players Pre-NIT Semifinal Quotes

Head Coach Andy Kennedy

 

On the team’s growth and making it this far in the NIT:

“It’s huge. What's good is that we have the opportunity to continue to play. It’s about pride and wanting to advance. For the seniors, it (the win at Virginia Tech) was gratifying because it got us an opportunity to go to New York. For the underclassmen, the guys coming back, now in their mind, they’ve realized that if we can win in that environment against that team, then hopefully that will be something we can grow from next year. That’s been a huge hurdle that we haven’t been able to overcome as we go through our league, so they’re always going to have that memory. Now it’s really been the first time we’ve been in a tournament venue. This is our regional. Neutral site, all the bright lights and the big city, it’s really our NCAA Tournament experience, so that’s going to go over well for not only the young kids, but it’s also great for our seniors.”

 

On preparing for Final Four:

“I think they’ll be fine. Many of them have never been to New York, so we’re going to go through and enjoy that on Sunday, then we’ll get back to business on Monday and start to prepare for a tremendous challenge. We put a goal out there to make it to New York City. Now our goal is to compete for a championship, and we’ve put ourselves in that position, so we’re going to take advantage of it.”

 

On success in the NIT:

“I think that’s the best learning experience for the young guys because that’s something we can build on. The upperclassmen, I cannot say this enough, it’s about those guys having the opportunity to experience this and none of the seniors ever have. This is truly a tournament atmosphere, and it will have a regional-type feel. It won’t have the pomp and circumstance of the other Final Four, but it will have a feel of a regional and all that comes with that.”

 

On Ohio State head coach Thad Matta:

“I was an assistant when he was at Xavier and I was at Cincinnati. I have a lot of respect for Thad. Thad is a stand-up guy, and he did a tremendous job at Xavier and had a great run, and now at Ohio State he's taken it to a national level and he's definitely where he deserves to be. I have a great amount of respect for him.”

 

Senior Center Dwayne Curtis

 

On playing at Madison Square Garden:

“It’s really exciting. This will be my first time there, not in New York, but at Madison Square Garden. There’s a lot of history in that building, so to be able to go there and play on that court is exciting.”

 

On difference in the team during the NIT:

“David Huertes has been stepping up and everybody is doing a little bit more, and that’s been the biggest difference.”

 

Senior Forward Kenny Williams

 

On playing at Madison Square Garden:

“It’s very exciting for the fact that we’ve made it this far and we’re in the NIT Final Four. We’re not holding our heads down because we didn’t make it to the NCAA Tournament. We did what we needed to do and we didn’t lose our pride and we’re satisfied and grateful that we’re able to go to Madison Square Garden to play against Ohio State. I remember all the games with the Heat versus the Knicks and the big rivalry, and to be able to go there with all of the history is great.”

 

On making it to Final Four:

“I truly feel our team is rejuvenated. We’re all going to New York, and we’re on cloud nine because we have the chance to win the whole thing and be able to leave a good taste in our mouths.”


 

 

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