Live from Washington DC, CHN's Jon Teitel is covering the NCAA Tournament pod featuring Xavier/Georgia, Baylor/Purdue, West Virginia/Arizona, and Belmont/Duke. He'll be checking in periodically with player & coach interviews as well as news updates from the Verizon Center.
Tonight, Jon brings us an interview with two Belmont players and their head coach Rick Byrd:
Interview with Coach Byrd
Q: What was the significance of moving to Division 1 in 1997?
A: It was important to make the move for recruiting purposes, as well as getting the chance to play in the NCAA Tournament.
Q: Have you felt that you contributed to the renaissance of college basketball in the state of Tennessee this year?
A: I have been asked about that a lot this month, and I am not sure if there has been a “renaissance”, as the state has a history of storied NCAA Tournament victories. It is fair to say that the rise of Memphis and Tennessee has been great. Some of the local programs do not have a lot of in-state players, but it has still been a great year, with residual effects trickling down to the smaller schools.
Q: Is Justin Hare the smartest/most clutch player you have ever coached?
A: He is by far the most clutch player in my decades of coaching, if not at any other school. He is as smart as anyone I have coached, which makes me proud because we have a bunch of real college students here.
Interview with Henry Harris and Jordan Campbell
Q: It seems like you have a veteran team compared to a lot of other schools in the Tournament: how much of an advantage is it?
A: We have 5-6 guys who are 3-time conference champs and playing in their 3rd straight Tournament, so the experience is a big help.
Q: You were leading Georgetown in the tourney last year before losing: what did you learn from that?
A: It seems like each year we hang around throughout the 1st half, and then have a 2nd half let down and end up losing the game. One thing we learned last year is to keep our composure and not get into a panic mode.
Q: What are your thoughts on teammate Justin Hare?
A: Justin is very clutch, and a leader for us on and off the court. He is our go-to guy, and he often keeps us in the game. He is a very smart guy.
Q: What is Coach Byrd like?
A: He is a great guy, very knowledgeable, and has coached for a very long time. He does a great job of preparing us to do good things.
Q: What do you know about Duke?
A: Duke is a great team with a lot of history, so we will have to stick to our game plan.
Q: Have you felt that you contributed to the resurgence of college basketball in the state of Tennessee this year?
A: Harris: We are proud to play for the state of Tennessee. We played Austin Peay twice this season, and they beat us twice.
A: Campbell: I had not heard a lot about Belmont before they recruited me to come here. It is a great academic school, and it shows the type of people they recruit as well as the type of people they are.
Q: Jordan, You played with Indiana freshman star Eric Gordon in high school, what is he like?
A: Eric is a great friend and teammate, and I wish him well in the tourney. I have known him since 3rd grade, and he has always been a good player. Some players who are good at a young age “grow out of it”, but he has obviously not, so the sky is the limit.
- Sign up for the free CHN Tournament Challenge and win great prizes!
- Check out various printable & downloadable NCAA Brackets