CLEMSON, S.C. - For the first time since 2007, Clemson is headed to the Big Apple for the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament. The Tigers take on SMU on Tuesday, April 1 at 7 p.m. in Madison Square Garden.
CLEMSON (23-12) vs. SMU (26-9)
Tipoff: Tuesday, April 1 (7 p.m.)
Arena: Madison Square Garden (19,763)
Radio: CTSN (Pete Yanity-pbp; Tim Bourret-color)
TV: ESPN2 (John Saunders-pbp; Fran Fraschilla, Bob Knight-color)
#NYC Day Two: Practice, Empire State Building
The Tigers started their day at Madison Square Garden for practice, the first visit to the "World's Most Famous Arena" for many of the players and coaches.
"It was pretty surreal," said Damarcus Harrison. "Just being on that court and knowing all of the legendary players who have played on that floor was a neat feeling. We re-enacted a few famous moments, pretending to be players that we grew up watching." (Click here for photo gallery from practice)
Legendary coach Bob Knight was on site and sat courtside to watch practice.
We had a surprise guest at practice today, legendary coach Bob Knight! pic.twitter.com/XVer5PpZqp— Clemson Basketball (@ClemsonMBB) March 31, 2014
After practice, Harrison, K.J. McDaniels, Rod Hall and Coach Brad Brownell participated in a media session at the team hotel.
To start the afternoon, most of the team went on a planned outing to the Empire State Building. The Tigers took an elevator to the 80th floor then walked the final six levels to get to the observation deck.
"You could see everything, it was incredible," said Jaron Blossomgame. "We've seen a lot of these building and landmarks on TV and in video games, but it's really amazing to see them in person."
Heads up—there are Tigers on top of the Empire State Building: pic.twitter.com/UrDN9IQtno— Clemson Athletics (@ClemsonTigers) March 31, 2014
#NYC Day One: Players Enjoy NBA Experience, Others Visit 9/11 Memorial
On their first night in New York, the players visited the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the Nets/Timberwolves game.
It was great fortune for starting center Landry Nnoko because his cousin, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, plays for the Timberwolves. It's not the first time the two have crossed paths this month. When Clemson faced Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, Mbah a Moute brought teammate Ronny Turiaf along to support Nnoko and the Tigers in the event. It was great for Landry to be able to return the favor by bringing his teammates along to Sunday's game. Mbah a Moute played nine minutes but the Nets won, 114-99.
While the players were at the NBA game across town, many of the coaches, including Brad Brownell, and several support staff visited the 9/11 Memorial in lower Manhattan.
Brownell, his family and the others had to fight a stiff wind and cold and rainy conditions on the way to the site of the two World Trade Center towers that were attacked in 2001. On the 10th anniversary of the attack, two memorial reflection pools opened where the towers once stood. Though the visit was brief, it was emotional, as the name of every victim surrounded the two pools for all to see.