March 19, 2008
BIRMINGHAM, AL - The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team earned the program's 19th appearance in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday. Below is an inside look at the Hawks' week leading up to their meeting with Oklahoma on Friday.
The Hawks chartered a flight from Philadelphia Wednesday morning, arriving in Birmingham in the early afternoon.
Birmingham was a stark change from Philadelphia. After a morning of rain, Birmingham weather was sunny and in the mid-60s.
SJU held a practice at near-by UAB. UAB was currently out of the stats as their men's team was at VCU for a NIT First Round game. Saint Joseph's enjoyed a team meal Wednesday evening at Fleming's.
Thursday, March 20
Saint Joseph's held its second practice in Alabama, with today's practice held at Samford.
After a short break in the afternoon, and a study hall during the morning, the Hawks attended the NCAA Press Conferences. Seniors Pat Calathes, Rob Ferguson and junior Ahmad Nivins were brought to the podium, while the rest of the Hawks took part in an open lockerroom session for the media.
Saint Joseph's head coach Phil Martelli was the final SJU member to attend the NCAA Press Conference.
Over 100 fans attended the free shoot around that the Hawks took part in. Using their designated 40 minutes mainly on shooting, the underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) did top the upperclassmen (juniors and seniors) in three-point shooting contest.
Several Hawks stopped on their way off the court to sign autographs for fans both young and old.
Saint Joseph's will not be wearing new uniforms in Friday's contest due to a recent fire their outfitter's factory. However, SJU will be sporting the new sneakers (Air Zoom II).
Hawks' Athletic Director Don DiJulia will have two teams to root for in Birmingham on Friday. Besides Saint Joseph's, DiJulia will be cheering on first-time NCAA participant American University. DiJulia served as an assistant coach there early in his athletics career.
A second charter with SJU's cheerleaders and band arrived Thursday evening around 10 local time.
Two bus loads of Saint Joseph's students left Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse yesterday evening headed to Birmingham.
Saint Joseph's has sold over 400 tickets for Friday's game, with most of the seats being in the lower bowl of the BJCC Arena.