Well, we’re running on almost 40 hours without sleep and more than eight hours without food but Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Johnson and I made it to Louisville for NCAA Tournament press conferences and practice before the Racers take on Colorado State at 11:15 a.m. tomorrow.
Because The News’ production night was last night we had to design and edit the newspaper before leaving at 5:30 this morning to head to Louisville, our home away from home for the next few days.
When we arrived we checked into the media hotel, the lovely Galt House, and blazed over to the KFC Yum! Center (via the nifty skywalk that connects the two venues) to get media credentials and look around before press conferences and practice sessions.
The first press conference was with Colorado State who sounded a lot like Murray State when talking about themselves and their approach to games. The Rams practiced after the interviews and did well shooting from half court to end its practice on a good note.
Seniors Ivan Aska, Jewuan Long and Donte Poole represented the Racers in the Murray State press conference in a very stoic, focused way. I’m not used to seeing them so serious and it was a little intimidating to see them without smiles and laughter. I wanted to ask a really goofy question to get them to lighten up, but chose the professional route this time and asked about their emotions.
Aska assured me emotions were fine and that he was happy and excited and not at all nervous.
After the seniors left the media room, Coach Prohm came in and answered all the questions asked of him, twice with a tear-filled voice that made my eyes leak a little, too.
When the press conference ended Elizabeth and I went to the court and watched the Racers practice.
If I haven’t made it abundantly clear: I love this team. So much. I shouldn’t have been concerned about the seniors’ serious and business-like approach to the presser earlier, they were the same goofy guys on the court as they always are but with a more clearly defined edge of focus that seemed to demand respect.
Hopefully that will carry over into tomorrow’s games and the Racers will end up victors and move on to play either Marquette or BYU on Saturday.
Junior forward Latreze Mushatt summed up the team’s job as well as mine and Elizabeth’s feelings about this tournament experience:
“It’s a blessing that we’re here,” Mushatt said. “We’re just going to have a good time and do what we do.”