Quotes from Oliver Purnell on NIT Selection

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Oliver Purnell

Opening statement on being selected to the NIT to play Texas A&M

We are obviously very pleased to be in post season play. It gives us a chance to extend our season and gives us a chance to play for a championship, a very prestigious one. It gives us an opportunity to continue to practice and develop our program when we got a very young team. We understand it is a tough task. I certainly did not focus on Texas A&M during the course of the year, but I am very aware of the kind of season they have had and some of the big wins they had over the course of the year. They obviously play in a premier conference in the Big 12 and this will be a very tough ballgame at Texas A&M in College Station.

Was there some disappointment in not receiving a home game in the first round?

You rather play at home I don’t care what the situation is, whether it is preconference, and conference or postseason when there is a situation where you can play at home. I wouldn’t call it disappointment. That fact is tempered by the fact we are in, and we have an opportunity. My experience with the NIT is sooner or later you are going to have to play on the road to get to New York. It could be the first game, or the second game or the third game and sometimes it is two of those games. That’s certainly not surprising. So disappointment would not be the word.

Was making the NIT the next realistic step for this program?

The one thing I have learned in my experience in building programs is the key factor or ingredient is patience. As I looked at our program and where we were last year playing with no recruits, just basically with the guys that were still here and playing with our first recruiting class this year and then some of the benchmarks this year whether it be winning on the road, winning in the Big 10/ ACC Challenge, winning in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. I think those things are really helpful and things you can point to that symbolize progress, and I think the NIT is as well. I certainly would not lose a minute sleep or get caught up in the dealing with the opinion that we should be in the NCAAs already because I know how far we have had to go. I know that we are moving forward and there are so many things that tell me that and we will continue to do that but we have to continue to be patient.

Clemson center Sharrod Ford

On being selected to NIT after not making it a few years ago:

It’s definitely exciting. We have been waiting all day, trying to find out who will play and now we know. It’s definitely been exciting knowing we were eligible and we were able to get the NIT bid. So we just got to get ready to play Texas A&M.

On having to play on the road in the first round:

It’s always good to have a home game but I don’t think it should matter with us. We are playing well on the road and off the road lately. I think wherever we go if play like we have been playing we should be fine.

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