April 2, 2004
On Thursday, April 1, we rose to the sound of an 8 a.m. wake-up call, after which we had 30 minutes to get ready for breakfast.
After breakfast, we had practice at Trinity College at 10. We don’t usually practice that long, but we go extremely hard, which I hear, is unlike most teams, being that around this time the concentration is on saving the players. Our style, Georgia Tech basketball, is uptempo and high-energy, therefore we are conditioned to go hard day in and day out, both in practice and in games. Coach Paul Hewitt emphasizes how important conditioning is to helping us win, stressing that we will make other teams run with us, making condtioning a factor.
Throughout the rest of the day, Coach Hewitt allowed us to have some free time. We had 4 or 5 hours to walk around the city, go the mall, take in the sites, and pretty much, just rest and relax. Some of us even had a chance to check out the historic Alamo, which is located just around the corner from our hotel.
As we walk out of the hotel and through the streets, we can’t escape the fans desiring to snap pictures and get t-shirts, flags,, and whatever else, autographed. As we were walking through the mall, we almost made it out without being stopped, with the exception of a few questions. Just as we were leaving, though, a younger fan noticed us and that turned into about 20 or 30 people flashing photos and waving things to get signed.
The overall experience wasn’t so bad, but its hard to simply relax and enjoy everything when you can’t take more than ten steps at a time without someone speeding up and jumping out of their cars for autographs and pictures, or having people running down the block to catch up to you.
Even with all of the uproar, I don’t think any of us would have it differently. We greatly appreciate the support we receive, even if it is a little over the top sometimes. (Chuckling)
That night, we had team dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. We then had a walk-thru of the other teams plays, and strategies, picked up our tournament bags filled with Final Four gifts, got some pizza for the night, and then it was lights out.
Thursday was our one free day, after which all else is strictly business. No more going to the malls, sight-seeing. From here on out, it’s total focus on the task at hand: winning our game on Saturday.