TCU travels Sunday to New York to begin is NIT preparations, with men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon planning to mix in a few life lessons and sight-seeing opportunities for players as part of the process.
With the NIT venue, Madison Square Garden, also serving as the site of this weekend’s Sweet 16 games for the East Region of the NCAA Tournament, the Horned Frogs (22-15) will have two practices in other area venues before a Tuesday morning shoot-around at the Garden.
TCU will practice Sunday at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., where Dixon’s sister Maggie served as the Army women’s coach before her death in 2006.
“Obviously, that’s a special place for me and my family,” Dixon said. “But I also think it would be a great experience for our team. We have some things planned for them up there. I’m really looking forward to it.”
TCU’s Monday practice will be at Baruch College in Manhattan. Dixon, who posted a 26-15 record as a college coach in Madison Square Garden during his tenure at Pittsburgh, also has scheduled a trip for players to the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero and other junkets to add a New York flavor to the Frogs’ experience. Once stops: a late-night snack from a street vendor.
“We’ve done this a lot, been to New York a bunch,” Dixon said. “We’ve got a dinner planned, which is part of the NIT. We’re working on arrangements to go to the 9/11 site ... We’ll eat at the cart on the side of the road with the gyros. That was a tradition of ours at Pitt, so we’ll do that as well: a late-night gyro before they go to bed. That will be structured and coordinated through the staff. But a lot of good things are planned. It’s a special place in March. There’s no other place I’d rather be.”
TCU guard Brandon Parrish, who spent last summer working in South Africa with a conservation group focused on protecting rhinos, said he plans to lobby Dixon to add a trip to the Central Park Zoo as one of the team’s organized excursions.