Editor's Note: UNC Asheville Athletics Communications Director Mike Gore will be blogging as the men's basketball team is on the road for the next eight days as the Bulldogs play Ohio State, Northeastern and St. John's. Here is the fifth blog as Asheville spends its first day in New York City preparing for St. John's.
Tuesday was a long day but a great day as we picked up a big road win at Northeastern and then headed to New York for our game with St. John's on Friday night. Today was our first day in the "Big Apple" and it started early.
Coach Biedenbach wanted the team to see the 9-11 Memorial and wanted to do it the morning. We got up at 7 a.m., had breakfast in the hotel and then walked about 10 minutes to the subway. It's not too cold but windy as we make the walk to the subway. This is the first time for me and for most of the team to ride on a New York subway. It's quite an experience. It's crowded when we get on and only gets more crowded as we head into Manhattan.
When we get off, we have a brief walk to the 9-11 Memorial. Nothing prepares you for downtown New York City. There is always such an incredible energy when you walk the streets of Manhattan. People are pretty nice to us and we get asked about 10 different times if we're a basketball team and what team are we.
Before we go into the memorial, Coach Biedenbach gathers the team and reminds them we need to remember what this place represents. How we may see people that are coming here to remember loved ones that died on that terrible day in 2001.
It takes about 10 minutes to go through security to get into the main exhibit which is outside. There are two memorial water pools that are very powerful to look at with the victims' names around it. There are a lot of people around but it's pretty quiet.
The team takes a photo around the only tree that survived that day. We then go into the gift shop for about 10 minutes. Prior to going into the gift show, we run into the men's basketball team from Milligan. Milligan is coached by former Montreat head coach Bill Robinson. I always liked the job Bill did at Montreat and watched his team beat us twice while he was there. I haven't seen Bill since he left Montreat and where do I find him but in New York City. It's a small world.
The big decision for us is where to have lunch. Needless to say they're plenty of options sort of but who can take care of a party of 20 fairly quickly in downtown Manhattan? Well we find a place that's familiar to all us who live in Asheville. It's Five Guys, a hamburger place that makes one of biggest burgers you've ever seen and gives you more French fries then you can imagine. We get there around 11:30 a.m. and it's not busy. Once we get our food, it gets really, really busy as the lunch crowd from the financial district comes into to eat.
Some of us decide to head back to the hotel and some decide to go to Times Square. For me, it's back to the hotel. I've been lucky enough to see Times Square a few years ago and need to get some work done on the computer as we prepare for our game with St. John's.
The team goes to practice at St. John's around 5:30 as we're about a half-hour from the campus. I think all of us are a little tired after a long day yesterday and an early day on Wednesday.
We'll blog again tomorrow night and we prepare for the Red Storm. The game will be on ESPN3, but I expect all Bulldog fans to listen to yours truly on WWNC Radio or the internet broadcast. Bam Jones, who is UNC Asheville's all-time leader in scoring and a member of the school's Hall of Fame, will come up to New York on Friday and help me with the broadcast.