March 15, 2011
Arlington, Va. -
Mizzou Basketball In D.C.
Missouri Basketball has arrived in Washington, D.C. The Tigers left Columbia at approximately 10 a.m. CT and landed in the nation's capital shortly after 1 p.m. ET.
The flight into Dulles International was fairly uneventful (always a good thing) and in addition to the team / basketball coaching staff, several department staffers, Tiger Scholarship Fund members, cheer squad and band members made the trip.
Typically when we fly out of Columbia we fly a small 30-seater... zero wasted seats. Today (full sized jet) the players felt big time. The seats had satellite radio and the guys had an empty seat between them to help spread out. In addition, the new travel companions were a plus. This year's team might be one of the most inviting in quite some time. They got up out of their seats and chatted with just about everyone... welcome to the family!
As we made the trek to the team hotel the bus driver detoured through the National Mall. We saw the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, White House, etc. Such an awesome experience and Kim English was a great tour guide for us, helping us catch a glimpse of the key attractions. The Baltimore, Md., is no stranger to the D.C. area.
It was about a 40-minute trip from Dulles to the hotel (definitely not the Fastest 40 Minutes), so once we arrived and checked in, the team scattered for lunch. One unnoticed part of road trips is the work put in ahead of time by our Director of Basketball Operations Jeff Daniels and Associate Athletics Director Mark Alnutt. At the hotel the room keys and packets were ready to go and room assignments were already taken care of. It's pretty much thankless work, but it gets the team off their feet and able to get some time to eat/rest before practice.
Also at the hotel we had a chance to see Missouri alum, Jeremy Harlan. Jeremy graduated from Mizzou in 1999. In Columbia he assisted at KOMU and now works in CNN's Washington Bureau... another former J-Schooler doing big time things! And believe it or not, his sister, Chelsea, interns in our media relations office.
The team practiced tonight at Marymount University. It was a 40-minute drive from Arlington, Va., to Marymount. It was a full-scale practice and several of Marymount's students and student-athletes watched the workout. Kudos to their staff for a first-class experience. It's a quaint gym and it appears they play in the same league as: Wesley College, Stevenson University, Frostburg State, Hood College, St. Mary's College, Salisbury University and York College (judging by the banners on the wall).
Tonight Missouri will keep it low-key. The Tigers have dinner on their own and there's no shortage of options around the hotel. There is an underground mall that has a number of restaurants and shops and the free time will allow the guys to explore a great area of the country many haven't seen before.
Curfew is at 11 p.m. ET, so the night will end rather promptly. The real excitement gets underway tomorrow with a pair of practices, including an open workout at the Verizon Center and media day. Staffers have a number of meetings as well, so Wednesday is a full day. In fact it's much busier than game day.
We'll check back in tomorrow to give updates on Missouri Basketball at the 2011 NCAA Tournament in Washington, D.C.