March 17, 2013
Baylor Bear Insider Jerry Hill spoke with men's basketball head coach Scott Drew after the Bears were awarded a No. 2 seed in the NIT.
On the disappointment of not getting NCAA Tournament bid:
"Nobody wants to finish playing. And to have an opportunity to play postseason means the seniors get a chance to put on that uniform one last time. And I know at the end of the year, there are only two happy teams - the one that wins the national championship in the NCAA and whoever wins the championship in the NIT. So, the goal is to be one of those teams that win the last game."
On how much it helps having played in the 2009 NIT Championship Game:
"That was one of the most enjoyable basketball experiences that I've been a part of; unbelievable time, and really enjoyed making it to New York, and the excitement that went into it. Again, anytime it's a tournament you're excited to play. And the exposure you get with national TV now, especially if you can win and advance, it's tremendous for your program in a lot of ways. One, you practice; and the players coming back next year get postseason experience and continue to improve. It gives you positive momentum for the following year. And then, obviously, with playing games this year and the exposure that the program can garner is tremendous."
On if the 2009 NIT run setup the team for its run to the 2010 Elite Eight:
"No question it did. And no one in our program has played in the NIT. Everybody that was part of that team has graduated. So I think this will be a great experience for everyone. For the freshmen, it will be the first time they've ever played in the postseason. And with the quality teams, and the teams that everybody recognizes their names, that excites players as well."
On the opportunity to potentially play two home games:
"Especially the way we played the last home game. There was a good feeling about it. And hopefully we can continue to play that well here. The last time we were in the NIT, we only had one home game. (That Georgetown game in '09 is the only NIT game Baylor has ever hosted). That game versus Georgetown - anybody that went to it remembers the atmosphere and excitement involved in that game. That was a great game."
On how quickly he'll study Long Beach State:
"Tonight, we'll be breaking down stuff, figuring stuff out and knowing a lot more about them."
On knowing LBSU's coach, Dan Monson:
Yes, an outstanding coach. And last year, Long Beach had several big wins and a lot of people knew about their success last year. And for the coaches that follow college basketball, we know that this year was another solid year for them. He does a tremendous job, and his teams don't beat themselves; they're very well-coached."
On selling the players on the NIT:
"The disappointment of not making the NCAA is always hard on everybody that's playing in the NIT. At the same time, now that you know who you're playing and you know you do have postseason, the excitement kicks in. And everyone knows, you lose, it's the last time you put on the jersey. So, there's plenty of motivation and intensity, and everyone knows what's going on."
On California native Gary Franklin potentially knowing some of the LBSU players:
"Gary's only complaint is he wanted to play out there. He asked if we could play out there.' No, Gary, they're going to come here.' He was looking for a trip home. Our players respect and listen to Gary, and he knows a lot of players, especially the West Coast players that he's played with."
On being in the same quadrant of the bracket as Kentucky:
"I mean, in postseason, you're going to play quality teams. You normally don't like to play somebody you've already played in the season. But again, if both of us make it to play against each other, I know it will be a hard-fought, contested game. I know our guys will be excited, and I'm sure theirs will be, too, because it would be for a trip to New York."